The Ashe County Little Theater is presenting “Bye Bye Birdie” this weekend at the Ashe Civic Center.
“Bye Bye Birdie” is a play written by Michael Stewart and is loosely based on Elvis Presley joining the U.S. Army in the 1950s. The play made its Broadway debut in 1960.
Conrad Birdie is a rock star about to join the military. In order to fulfill a contract obligation, he is going to give one last kiss to a girl and write a song about it – and hilarity ensues.
The story is told from the point of view of Birdie’s manager Albert, who wants to quit the music business and become an English teacher.
Producing “Bye Bye Birdie” brought new faces into the Little Theater. Several roles in the play will be performed by teenagers and preteens.
“We wanted to bring new talent into the Little Theatre,” Stage Manager Ramona Renfroe said. “Any time you have a core group of people that does a lot of theater together, sometimes it feels cliquish, and that’s not what the Little Theater is about. We’re about including a lot of people and training that new talent.”
Working on the production has been a labor of love for the cast. Director Gilly Macknee said building the sets was a long process, with groups of 10 to 12 people working every Wednesday for weeks.
Auditions and rehearsals also involve a lot of hard work, but Macknee ensures everything remains fun.
“It’s a hobby, it’s community theater,” he said. “So if you’re not having fun, why do it?”
This will be Macknee’s directing debut with the Little Theater.
“I love my job,” he said. “All I have to do is tell people what I want to see as the audience.”
With a younger cast and modern musical, preparing for the play has been a blend of hard work and relaxation for the cast and crew.
“The entire time it has been playful and joyful and a real celebration of the theatrical process that you don’t always see in doing community theater,” Renfroe said.
The show will be presented at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 23-24, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 25. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for students.
To purchase tickets, call the Little Theater at 846-2787.