The cast of Kingsland's spring musical, "Bye, Bye Birdie," rehearses for the May 9 to 11 performances.  GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
The cast of Kingsland's spring musical, "Bye, Bye Birdie," rehearses for the May 9 to 11 performances. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
A fun, family-friendly musical, "Bye, Bye Birdie," which chronicles all the swooning that occurs when a girl meets a famous singer, will be presented by Kingsland High School students May 9 through 11.

"When picking these musicals, a lot of consideration and factors go into it, such as cast size, length, genre, score, the surrounding areas, and orchestra. 'Bye, Bye Birdie' fit into being the best option, and it's a lot of fun," said Kingsland Drama Club advisor Tim Chappell.

Chappell elaborated on the play's plot, saying, "Conrad Birdie, like Elvis, is being drafted into the Army, and, as a farewell, he will perform a song and kiss goodbye one girl from his fan club. It just so happens the girl selected is 'pinned' to a boy already. Conrad's manager is having life issues, too, which overspill in the ensuing chaos of a small town with a big star in it."

The cast of "Bye, Bye" includes Julius Wolf as Birdie, Josie Bellrichard, Karli Bly, Zach Buchholtz, Alex Campbell, Logan Copeman, Rosalyn Dathe, Colt Hamersma, James Hayes-Hall, Stephanie Hershberger, Josie Hinze, Stanley Juzwiak, Tyler Kappers, Shelby Larson, Corrin Lee, Adam Lewis, Kathryn Oakland, Jordan Pokorney, Lindy Reed, Kiara Reichstadt, Morgan Sanford, Noah Schmidt, Paige Webb, Grace Gimlet and Dillon Affeldt. Josie Hinze is back as stage manager, with Logan Copeman on sound and lights.

The show will be an actual musical, and not just a play. "It's just shorter, as this is a 'Young Performers' edition," Chappell noted, adding that Pokorney, Larson, Reichstadt and Wolf will be doing the majority of the singing as the rest of the cast cavorts onstage in 1960s-era costumes, doing their best to convey the excitement of a town twittering in teenage tumult.

The director likes to maintain "simple sets to allow for smoother scene changes," but that certainly doesn't mean that the show will be flat. "It so happens it calls for a lot of teens, which we have, and I see this play not only as fun on stage and great for all audiences, but also a farewell of sorts to our wonderful seniors, too."

Staging the spring show has been slightly challenging in that "getting all cast members all in the same area at the same time, and the weather since we started in February" have posed difficulties, but Chappell finds jovial rewards in directing student casts.

"This whole time has been great," he said. "It's always nice to see new faces in theater and sad to say goodbye to the graduating seniors. I'm sure these kids are singing the tunes in the shower, on the bus and while working and they can't get it out of their heads."

Chappell promised that preschoolers through grandmas will rock along with the "Birdie" cast. "It's most definitely a family show. This is a lot of fun where all ages can relate...from 6 to 96. This is the first time I've done this show, and also, the edition is pretty new, too, so it's not going to follow the movie or other stage productions exactly."

He pointed out that the show will sweetly put the spotlight on some of the silly ideas people maintain about famous people. "We still have this mentality of putting famous people up on pedestals and this will have audience members either looking internally or laughing at things they may have done in the past. There's also some family issues that others have dealt with or are dealing with...all comical. Hopefully, we bring it over the top, high energy, overacting, showing off the absurdness at times."

The Kingsland High School production of "Bye, Bye Birdie" is set for May 9 through May 11 at Kingsland Middle School, with the show opening at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and at 4 p.m. on Sunday. Cost is $5 for students and $7 for adults. Chappell concluded that since it's Mother's Day weekend, they may throw something fun in there, too. As always, he noted, "bring a smile and expect to laugh and have fun. The actors always enjoy a crowd that laughs out loud and feeds off their energy."