Bye, Bye Birdie… Hello, John Stamos!
I’m recovering from a cold that knocked me out of commission on Friday, so I wasn’t able to post my review of the new (again) Broadway show, Bye, Bye Birdie.
My friend, Amanda, invited me to attend the premiere preview of the show last Thursday evening. A preview (which I had to look up) is a series of performances that occur before opening night so that the actors can get used to performing in front of an audience, adjust their timing for laughter and dramatic pauses, and also to work out any little kinks that might happen since the preview is a full run-through of the show.
I had never seen Bye, Bye Birdie before and didn’t know that much about the play. Essentially, it’s a musical about a Elvis-like pop star, Conrad Birdie (played by a total unknown actor) from the ’50s who is about to be sent off to war. His agent, Arthur (played by John Stamos), is trying to arrange a big send-off for him while also dealing with his frustrated secretary/girlfriend and scheming, meddling, co-dependent mother. The crux of the play is hinged on Conrad performing, and then kissing, the president of his fan club in Sweet Apple, Ohio – but she has a new boyfriend who is totally and completely jealous. Hijinks ensue!
Well, I’ve got some good news and I’ve got some bad news. Bad news first:
It’s really not that amazing of a play. I have seen a fair number of Broadway plays (I think around 10) and every time I leave a show, I always think, “Now that was my favorite!”
I didn’t think that this time. Sure, John Stamos is cute, and he doesn’t have that bad of a voice. And the man can dance (when pressed to). But he just didn’t seem like BROADWAY material. Neither did his co-star, Gina Gershon. Although she did have a strong performance during one of her last songs, I was surprised by how weak her voice sounded. I’m not sure if she was nervous or just not very good, but she did not sound like Broadway.
Everyone else, actually. The kids in the play were AWESOME. They were so energetic and enthusiastic about being in the show, and you could tell they were having such a good time. They were really talented too, both in acting and in dancing. I really think Allie Trimm, who played the fan club’s president, will be a leading lady someday. She was adorable. The scenes where it was just the kids, or at least had the kids in it, were actually my favorite scenes. Typically child actors are either 1) annoying or 2) just bad. But I thought they were great.
If you really, really like Bye, Bye Birdie, this might disappoint. If you’re a Broadway novice, then you probably won’t know any better because the show didn’t suck, it just wasn’t great. Amanda and I theorized that the show probably would only run for a few months.
Still, seeing John Stamos in person was great. He has aged quite well…