The actor confirmed to Playbill On-Line that he will portray patriarch Mr. MacAfee for his Guys and Dolls director Jerry Zaks. Zaks replaces the previously announced Kathleen Marshall (Wonderful Town) who will be busy with a television movie.
The role of the put-upon father of the show's young heroine Kim MacAfee has been previously played by Paul Lynde in the original Broadway cast and in the 1963 film, as well as George Wendt in the recent television remake. Bobbie will take on the songs "Kids!" and "Hymn for a Sunday Evening" in the musical.
Bobbie, last seen as a performer in Polish Joke Off-Broadway, garnered the Tony Award as Best Director for the current Broadway revival of Chicago. As an actor, his stage credits include Guys and Dolls, Assassins, Getting Married, Anything Goes, Cafe Crown, Driving Miss Daisy, I Love My Wife, A History of the American Film and the original Grease.
The story of Bye Bye Birdie revolves around the rock 'n' roll superstar and teen idol Conrad Birdie who has been drafted into the war. His manager and songwriter Albert concocts a get-rich scheme in the hopes that he'll finally be able to leave the business and marry his girlfriend Rose. The plan: get Conrad to sing the song "One Last Kiss" on "The Ed Sullivan Show" and give away a kiss to one lucky girl.
The musical with a book by Michael Stewart, music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Lee Adams is set for a Broadway-bound revival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC aiming for a New York berth in late 2004. The show is also being considered for another film adaptation by Columbia Pictures. Bye Bye Birdie debuted on Broadway April 14, 1960 at the Martin Beck Theatre, running 607 performances on The Great White Way before closing Oct. 7, 1961. Gower Champion directed and choreographed the production starring Chita Rivera and Dick Van Dyke. The production won the 1961 Tony Award for Best Musical as well as Featured Actor (Van Dyke), Producer (Edward Padula), Director, Choreographer and Author. Best Score had not yet been introduced in the Tonys, but Strouse and Adams received Tonys by association for the Best Musical win.
The musical — set mainly in the smalltown of Sweet Apple, Ohio — features songs such as "The Telephone Hour," "How Lovely to Be a Woman," "Spanish Rose" and "Put on a Happy Face."
Tickets to Bye Bye Birdie at City Center, 131 West 55th Street (between Sixth and Seventh Ave.), call (212) 581-1212 or (877) 581-1212 outside metropolitan NYC, NJ, and CT. For more information, visit www.citycenter.org.