‘Bye Bye Birdie’ debuts at City

Brittany Johnson

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The orchestra serenaded the opening night audience with a little taste of what they were about to encounter. The sounds of the trumpets, horns, and piano offered an optimistic feeling and prepared the audience for San Diego City College’s fall musical, “Bye Bye Birdie.”

Directed by June Richards, choreographed by Alicia Rincon, and musically directed by Michael Farley, “Bye Bye Birdie” made its debut Oct. 30 at Saville Theatre. Promptly beginning at 8 p.m. and providing an upbeat performance, the cast dazzled for almost 2 hours.

“Bye Bye Birdie is a joyful, charming and sweet musical,” said Richards.

The musical tells the story of a young, popular singer and his final departure from his fans before he enters the Army.

“The rock ‘n’ roll roots really stuck out at the time of the musical,” said actor Rocky De Haro.

“Families of all ages are going to enjoy the musical,” Richards commented.

Opening night provided an audience of all types. Community members, students, relatives of the cast and even a few Halloween costume participants were in attendance.

“Everyone (will) have the opportunity to see a musical theatre production, with costumes, sets and orchestra with a fabulous cast, comprised of City College students,” said Richards.

Local resident Edna Kurth was in attendance to enjoy an evening of theater. “I love how different the cast is,” Kurth said. “It was just as amazing as seeing a Broadway show.”

After the show, a few of the cast members commented on their performance. Chance Baker, who plays the role of Ursula Merkle, said that the cast “have been rehearsing for a long time and (we) pulled it out. The show was amazing and the audience’s energy was great.”

The audience played a large role in keeping the energy of the actors up. “The audience was really receptive. I could hear their reactions and their laughter,” stated De Haro, who plays Conrad Birdie.

After the first performance the next few shows should run smoother, according to Merkle. De Haro agreed, stating that “a few things need polishing,” but eventually the cast would be able to “roll right through the show.”

No glitches were apparent to the audience, who responded with load roars and cheers when the cast took their final bow.

“The price for City College faculty, staff and students is less than a movie ticket, and we always provide a first rate show,” Richards said. “We look forward to welcoming everyone to the show.”

“Bye Bye Birdie” runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday, now through Nov. 15. General admission tickets are $15. Student, senior and military service men and women tickets are $10. For reservations please call (619) 388-3676. For more information visit www.sdcity.edu/savilletheater/events.asp.

The Theater Department has also announced their spring production will be “Pippin.” Auditions are set for Jan. 30, 2010 at noon in Saville Theatre. Performances are scheduled April 9-26, 2010.

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