Downstairs, in room J11, a darkly lit space is alive with frivolous talk and excited movement. A count of twenty-something high schoolers are waiting at the ready to start rehearsal for the upcoming Loy Norrix musical “Bye Bye Birdie.” Carolyn Carmack, Drama teacher in J11 and choreographer for the musical, enters the room.
“All right, all right, all right,” Carmack yells upon entering and immediately tells the students to get in their positions for the overture dance sequence; rehearsal has begun.
“Bye Bye Birdie” is a musical about two love stories that co-mingle. Albert is a man who manages Conrad Birdie’s music career. Conrad has got the moves of Elvis and girls fall all over themselves for him. But before Conrad gets to record his song, he is drafted into the army. Albert and his secretary Rosie decide, as a farewell, Conrad will perform his song ‘One Last Kiss’ and actually kiss a fan, Kim MacAfee onstage, but Kim’s jealous boyfriend Hugo doesn’t like the idea of Kim kissing a star on television.
There’s happy chatter as the students wait for the tune to signal the start of the dance. As they begin, Carmack commands the dancers over the loud music reminding them to stay in their lines and to watch one another. Other students stand on the sidelines, waiting for their cue to enter. As they wait they send shouts and whistles of encouragement to their friends.
At different points in the dance, Carmack has the music stopped so she can drill the students over the tiniest of dance moves until she is satisfied. She constantly reminds the dancers to help each other so everyone is in sync.
“You’ve got to work together. I want unison,” Carmack shouts as she snaps to the beat.
Everyone is giving their maximum effort in this rehearsal. Each person is pushing themselves to keep up and land each movement correctly.
At 3:30 p.m. over half of the members are allowed to leave, the ones that remain start rehearsal on another dance.
You can see “Bye Bye Birdie” this Friday the 15th and on Saturday the 16th at 7:30 p.m. There is also a matinee on the 17th at 2:30. Next week’s performances are Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The tickets are $10 for students and $12 for adults.
The play features well known songs and a story that’s sure to delight any who see it.