Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Waukesha Civic's Big Musical In The Suburbs

Massive production of Bye Bye Birdie West of Milwaukee

By Russ Bickerstaff
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This week the Waukesha Civic Theatre¬†opens its production of the classic 1960 hit Broadway musical Bye Bye Birdie. Inspired by Elvis Presleyís 1958 enlistment in the military, itís the story of a rock Ďní roll crooner who is about to be inducted. In one last attempt at publicity before he enlists, he agrees to give one last good-bye kiss to a teenage girl. She who wins the contest is in Ohio. It sounds unbelievably wholesome. It is. It really, really is.

The appeal of the show has kept it running for a number of years in productions all over the country. The Waukesha Civic Theatre continues its season with an ambitious staging of the musical directed and co-choreographed by the talented Bryce Lord. How is the show ambitious? Hereís the cast list . . . (ahem) .¬† . . :

 

 

Lindsey Burtch, Allison Chicorel, Jennifer Clark, Karin Cunningham, Jonathan Drayna, Mary Kate Drayna, Sean Duncan, Linda Elder, Roseann Fasi, Joey Ferrito, Emilie Grunfelder, Ian Joyal, Jon Jones, Peter Kao, Beth LaChance, Bjorn Larson, Jack Lynch, AJ Magoon, Deb Manders, Mary Melter, Isaiah Reynolds, Corey Richards, Emily Ruzga, Stephanie Schimel, Erika Schwane, Liz Singer, James Skiba, Scott Sutter, Alek Tomich, Al Van Lith, Alia Van Lith, Alie Velcheck, Cindy Velcheck, Melina Velcheck, Mallorey Wallace and Lyssa Yehle.

 

 

Itís a big, big cast. If Iím doing the math correctly, the cast is roughly .05% the size of the population of the city of Waukesha. I donít doubt that Lord is going to bring it all together quite beautifully. The great thing a bout a cast this size is the fact that itís comparable with that of a touring Broadway show. The thing is . . . touring Broadway shows with casts this big end up playing the big stage at the Marcus Centeróa very, very big stage. The stage at the Waukesha Civic Theatre is much, much smaller than that. A cast of over 30 is going to be that much more impressive on a smaller stage that is still big enough to make the bigger musical numbers feel comfortable. Anyone who loves a big, powerful musical show will likely have a good time with this one. It won't have the same kind of polished perfection likely to be found closer to home with the new Skylight show, but a classic like this might just be a bit more appealing to the right people. ¬†

 

Waukesha Civic Theatreís¬†Bye Bye Birdie runs March 12 Ė 28 at the Civic Theatre Building on 264 West Main Street in Waukesha.

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