Bye Bye Birdie

On Tuessday night Arlene and I went to see a junior high summer school production of Bye Bye Birdie. Arlene’s art teacher Carolyn had done the scenery for it, as she has for the Newton schools summer arts program’s musical theater productions for years, and gave us some complimentary tickets. I was sitting in a front row aisle seat and had to duck several times as the actors came running up and down the aisle! Since the show is all about teenage girls reacting to a rock star, and the chorus is all supposed to be high school kids, the chorus was essentially playing themselves, and did a great job of it. I think of the show as being about Elvis being drafted. The period aspect was very striking — kids talking on rotary-dial telephones in an era when there was only one phone line in the household and probably not one in the kid’s room, being asked to get off the phone so someone else could use it! The Ed Sullivan show, and indeed TV when there were only three programs going on at any one time. And the main plot point, the rock star being drafted. I don’t know how much the kids learned about all those things, but they did a fine job with the show. Someone asked us, “Are you here for someone in particular?” I just said, “We’re here to be entertained.” And we were.

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