Bye Bye Birdie

Bye Bye Birdie is a stage musical with a book by Michael Stewart, lyrics by Lee Adams, and music by Charles Strouse.

The original Broadway production opened on April 14, 1960 at the Martin Beck Theater and was a Tony Award-winning success. It ran for 607 performances. It spawned a London production and several major revivals, a sequel, a 1963 film and a 1995 television production. The show also became a popular choice for high school and college productions.

Originally titled Let’s Go Steady, the satire on American society is set in 1958. The story was inspired by the phenomenon of popular singer Elvis Presley and his draft notice into the army in 1958. The rock star character’s name, “Conrad Birdie,” is word play on the name of Conway Twitty. Twitty is known as a country music star but also was one of Presley’s rock ‘n’ roll rivals.

In Bye Bye Birdie, it’s the late 1950s and teenagers from across the United States are going crazy for the handsome rock star, Conrad Birdie. Meanwhile, his manager, Albert Peterson, is going into debt and has staked his financial future on Conrad’s success. Albert’s secretary, Rosie, is increasingly frustrated with the time and money Albert is losing on his project. Disaster strikes when Conrad receives a draft notice to join the military. Thus, Albert attempts to stage a farewell party for Conrad in which he is to kiss one lucky fan on the Ed Sullivan Show before he leaves for the army. Kim MacAfee, from Sweet Apple, Ohio, is the lucky girl chosen to be kissed. But conflict arises when her boyfriend, Hugo Peabody, gets jealous, and Rosie becomes fed-up with the abusive treatment she receives from Albert’s mother. Eventually, things turn out alright. Kim and Hugo resolve their problems while Albert agrees to leave managing, become an English teacher, and marry Rosie.

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