Bye Bye Birdie brightens dull winter days

| January 26, 2016 | Comments (0)

BBB openingJust when we’re in the dull, dark winter doldrums, the Drury Lane Theatre brings a bright, colorful, joyful story to stage. Bye Bye Birdie tells the story of an Elvis-like performer, with bad-boy tendencies, who is drafted into the Army. Before Conrad Birdie leaves for his two-year enlistment, his management team cooks up one final publicity scheme involving the Conrad Birdie fan club and a small, Midwestern town. From the moment the actors stroll across the stage in their over-the-top 1950’s outfits, the show sparks with high energy and tremendous performances.

The 1950’s provides the setting, but the themes are current today. When the on-stage parents sing “Kids,” the in-the-audience parents smiled in agreement. Since I was enjoying the show, not writing down lyrics,I went to to grab the first verse of the song:

Kids, I don’t know what’s wrong with these kids today
Kids, who can understand anything they say?
Kids, they are disobedient, disrespectful oafs
Noisy, crazy, sloppy, lazy, loafers
We don’t use the word “oaf” much anymore, but the rest of the lyrics resonate. We hear it all the time about today’s kids. They are lazy. They are disrespectful. They are disobedient. It’s the kind of thing parents have always said about their children, even as they forget that someone once said it about them.
Throughout the show we see characters struggling with the same issues we struggle with today. The Conrad Birdie fan club struggles with the meaning of being a teenager — no longer a child, but not quite an adult. Conrad’s manager, Albert, struggles with his love for Rose and his commitment to his mother. Rose struggles with how long to stay devoted to a man who might not ever stay true to his promise to marry her. These universal themes are played out with joyful songs and delightful dances among brightly, colored sets that are filled with retro elements.
Bye Bye Birdie is a fun way to spend a cold winter afternoon or evening. The audience, from those who were teens in the 1950’s to those who are teens today, left opening night singing and smiling and laughing. No matter what your age, Bye, Bye Birdie will make you smile.
Bye Bye Birdie runs through March 13. The theater, conveniently located just off I-88 near Oak Brook Center mall, has ample free parking. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 630.530.0111 or visit
Shari writes about life with twins at Two Times The Fun.  The cast of Bye Bye Birdie during Telephone Hour is courtesy of Brent Beiner for the Drury Lane Theatre.
Disclosure:  I did receive media passes to attend opening night. My words and opinions are my own.

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Category: Shari's Corner

About Shari: Shari is a mom, wife, marketing communications professional, gardener, Chicago Blackhawks fan, college sports fan, traveler, quilter, community volunteer, sister, daughter, aunt, friend, Siberian Husky owner, Girl Scout troop leader and book lover. You can find Shari blogging about life with twins at Two Times the Fun and tweeting @slcs48n1. View author profile.

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