Creators and Original Cast of Bye Bye Birdie to Celebrate Musical's 50th Anniversary

News   Creators and Original Cast of Bye Bye Birdie to Celebrate Musical's 50th Anniversary
A by-invitation-only celebration of the 50th anniversary of the original production of Bye Bye Birdie will be held at Sardi's in Manhattan Oct. 20.

Charles Strouse
Charles Strouse Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Expected to attend the event are original Birdie stars Chita Rivera and Susan Watson as well as the musical's Tony-winning composer and lyricist, Charles Strouse and Lee Adams, respectively, who will be presented with a special ASCAP award from composer Stephen Schwartz.

Also in attendance will be Marge Champion, musical director Elliott Lawrence  and most of the teenagers from the original cast.

Songs from Bye Bye Birdie will be performed by the Chapin School, which is presently preparing its own production of the show.

The party is being co-hosted by Dean Stolber, Bye Bye Birdie's original Harvey Johnson; and Gene Bayliss, the associate choreographer who created the original staging for "Telephone Hour" and "How Lovely To Be A Woman."

Bye Bye Birdie features a book by Michael Stewart, music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Lee Adams. The musical, according to press notes, "revolves around rock 'n' roll superstar Conrad Birdie (loosely based on Elvis Presley), who, to the dismay of his adoring fans, is about to be drafted into the army. . . .Comic complications ensue when, as part of one last publicity stunt cooked up by his agent, he promises to give a good-bye kiss to one lucky girl from Sweet Apple, Ohio, on 'The Ed Sullivan Show.'" The score features such tunes as "How Lovely to Be a Woman," "The Telephone Hour," "Put On a Happy Face," "A Lot of Livin' to Do" and "One Last Kiss."

Directed and choreographed by Gower Champion, the musical opened on Broadway April 14, 1960, at the Martin Beck Theatre.

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