Fan Girls Take Center Stage in Bye Bye Birdie

By Grace Kearney, Staff Writer

The Queen’s Court Company staged its second musical, Bye Bye Birdie, for four shows at Middletown Arts Center from April 22-26. The heavily emphasized ensemble and double-casting of main parts allowed many students to showcase their varied talents, from acting to singing and dancing, while the male roles in the play presented the opportunity to include male actors from Christian Brothers Academy and Red Bank Regional, a first for Trinity Hall.

Sarah F. (center), playing Kim McAfee, is joined by her girlfriends as they swoon over Hugo, played by Connor H., in the musical number "One Boy" during the production of Bye Bye Birdie.

Sarah F. (center), playing Kim MacAfee, is joined by her girlfriends (L to R: Isabella P., CC Jakub, Lizzy C., Jacqueline M. and Olivia D.) as they swoon over Hugo, played by Chase H., in the musical number “One Boy” during the production of Bye Bye Birdie.

“[This was] one of the best experiences I have ever had with a show,” said Sophomore Lilly McCann, who played one of lead roles in the Saturday matinee and Sunday evening performances. “We got to form new relationships with people that we do not normally interact with and all while doing what we love!”

“Being a part of the ensemble was so much fun,” said freshman Joanna Ferrer of her experience being a “fan girl.” The play’s story follows 15-year-old Kim MacAfee, who wins a contest to bestow a goodbye kiss on behalf of all fans to rock star Conrad Birdie, who has been drafted into the army. In fact, Director Ellen Phillips chose the play because she felt that Trinity Hall students could connect to the timeless fan girl experience.

“[The show was] delightful, fun and engaging,” Head of School Mary Sciarrillo said. “I think the characters and the story really showcased our students and gave all of them an opportunity to shine.”

Lindsey B., Grace M., Lizzy C. and Madeline E. perform "Put on a Happy Face" in Bye Bye Birdie.

Lindsey B., Grace M., Lizzy C. and Madeline E. perform “Put on a Happy Face” in Bye Bye Birdie.

Though they shined brightly when the curtains went up, ironically the cast and crew had to conduct the final run-through in virtual darkness due to a power outage that almost caused cancellation of opening night. “The cast and crew did not complain during our last dress rehearsal, which was rehearsed in only emergency lights with no sound, lights or music,” Phillips said. “There was a tremendous amount of teamwork with the staff and crew…We really powered through, no pun intended.”

Teamwork was also key to the creation of the costumes for the show. “I loved making costumes with the students; they were very helpful probably because of their engineering class.” said faculty member Melissa Whelan who supervised the costume department. “I guess what my grandmother said was true: if you can read you can sew.”

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