Clintonville High School will open its musical production of “Bye Bye Birdie” Friday, Nov. 7, for a run of three shows.
Shows are scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 7; 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 8; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 9. Shows will take place in the Clintonville High School auditorium. Tickets are $7 at the door.
“Bye Bye Birdie” is about a rock singer who travels to a small Ohio town to make a farewell television performance and kiss his biggest fan before he is drafted.
“There are screaming girls all the time and he can’t walk anywhere without them watching him,” said Megan Meyers, co-director of the musical being performed in Clintonville.
The musical is based in the early 1960s.
Meyers said she and Leah Armstrong, also co-director of the musical, spent the summer months searching for the perfect musical for the Clintonville High School students to perform. She said they wanted a musical that both the students and the community could relate to.
“This one, with all the teenage energy, that’s why we picked it. There is such great energy about it,” Meyers said.
Armstrong said they also considered the abilities of the students when they picked the musical.
“Something fun, age appropriate, and something that the community would recognize,” Armstrong added.
When they presented the idea to the school board, the members of the board loved the idea, Meyers said.
Armstrong said the students were excited when they found out what musical they would be presenting. That excitement was amplified after students rented it on their own time and watched it. She said students also said their parents and grandparents were excited because they know the musical.
This will be Armstrong’s first time directing a musical at Clintonville High School, but she has nine years of directing experience. Meyers has been involved in the summer theater program that last couple years in Clintonville.
Between the cast and stage workers, around 40 students are involved in the production, including some eighth grade students.
Auditions were held the second week of school. Students have been practicing 4-5 times a week after school.
“They’ve really stepped up and it’s exciting to see,” Meyers said.
She added, “Last week I told them they finally became a musical and I think they like it. I’ve had two boys tell me they’re having so much fun. They finally got the bug.”
Armstrong said everyone involved is having fun with the musical.
We’ve had a lot of fun, a lot of laughs. We’ve had some very frustrating moments but it all works out. That’s the nature of the show. You have ups and downs and then you have this incredible high at the end where everything is great and you get to perform. That’s what it’s all about,” Armstrong said.
“We have high expectations for them and they have really been rising to those expectations,” Meyers added.
Both Armstrong and Meyers are hoping the musical will help draw more students to participate in future musicals.
“We want younger kids to come [watch the musical] so we can start building a program,” Armstrong said.
“We’re trying to sellout at least one performance,” Meyers added. “We’re trying to show these kids what it’s like to put in this hard work to pack the theater and to have the other half of the stage full. If they bring that energy and the seats are all full, we want them to feel that because that’s how you build a program.”
So what can the audience expect from the Clintonville High School’s presentation of “Bye Bye Birdie”?
“They can expect a fun performance. It’s something for every age, younger kids to older adults who grew up in this period,” Armstrong said.
Meyers added, “They can expect a great time. They are going to want to dance in their seats. They’re going to want to participate. They’re going to want to go visit this town and they’re going to want to come back again and invite people to come with them.”