A Parent’s Review: Bye Bye Birdie
Bye Bye Birdie – a classic, a staple, a love story tried and true. KIDSTAGE at the Village Theatre is introducing this endearing tale to another generation and providing an evening of nostalgia for others. Despite being set in time a half century ago, the premise of the story still rings true today. My 8-year-old stopped me half-way through my pre-show explanations, saying that she got it. Conrad Birdie is like Justin Bieber. Well, he’s no Elvis, but at least she understood the concept of a rock ‘n’ roll star and a mob of swooning girls. I guess some things are timeless.
Musicals are a great way to introduce kids to theater. They say music is a universal language, and in this case it certainly helps get the point across. Some of the tunes in Bye Bye Birdie such as “Put on a Happy Face” are familiar even to people who have never seen the show. The dance numbers are equally fun for the kids, especially since some of the dancers are younger cast members. The costuming and 50s vibe are super cool elements, too. Every little girl appreciates a good “twirly” skirt, and this show has plenty of them.
If great music and fun costuming isn’t enough, the show also has some serious comedic chops. Whether it’s the over-the-top swooning of Ursula or the antic of the overly-doting mother, these characters will bring a smile to your face. My daughter especially liked the scene with everyone in pajamas. When I asked her why it was so funny, she replied incredulously, “They’re singing and dancing in pajamas!” Lucky for us, the writers and directors of this show understood better than I the inherent comedic nature of pajamas.
While the storyline does include some serious topics, such as being drafted into the army and running away from home, they are treated in a lighthearted manner to keep the laughs coming. The Village Theater provides a Performance Preview Guide online as well as at the box office that outlines any content of violence, sexual content, etc. as well as a synopsis of the play to help parents determine if a show is appropriate for their child. You may also arrange to read a full copy of the script in advance, but that must be done at the theater.
Bye Bye Birdie is a staple of musical theater, and any kid who loves music and the stage deserves a chance to be in this spectacular show. Luckily, KIDSTAGE at the Village Theatre has provided this opportunity to a fine group of young folks, most younger than age 19. Anyone familiar with the Village Theatre will also know that this is not a watered-down kid-version of the musical, but the real McCoy. The show also provides an opportunity for a handful of student and adult musicians to shine.
In addition to the fabulous line-up of shows, the Village Theatre also offers camps and classes for kids, ages pre-K through 20 years old. In addition to the Everett location, the theater is also located in Issaquah. So, whether it’s a simple night out at the theater, a fun week of camp, a semester of classes or the super-intense year-long program, the Village Theatre has something to offer all kids.
If You Go...
Where: Everett Performing Arts Center, 2710 Wetmore Ave., Everett.
When: Thursday, Aug. 16 through Saturday, Aug. 18 at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 19 at 2 p.m.
Cost: $16 general, $14 youth and senior.
Contact: 425-257-8600 or www.villagetheatre.org.