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Auditions: Large Cast Needed to Present Rock and Roll Musical

Auditions are approaching for the Marysville Area Community Theatre’s production of Bye Bye Birdie. Try-outs will be held Tuesday and Wednesday, May 25 and 26, from 7:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. in the Marysville High School auditorium.

The musical takes place in the late 1950s where 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 because he has staked his financial future on Conrad’s success. Albert’s secretary, Rose, 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 Rose 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 show business, become an English teacher, and marry Rose.

Forty individuals are needed to complete the cast requirements. The cast includes roles for performers whose ages range from eight to eighty. “There are many reasons that I’m excited to direct this show,” said Wayne Kruse. “Mainly, I’m looking forward to working with a variety of people to fill the variety of roles in this production. There are fantastic leading roles for teenagers and for adults. Plus, there are some superb roles for senior citizens. You don’t often find a show that can showcase the talents of so many individuals. This is an ideal show for our community theatre to produce.”

There are four leading roles in the show. One of the leading female roles, Kim McAfee, is for a teenager and the other, Rose Alvarez, is for someone in her late 20s or early 30s. Conrad Birdie is written for a man in his mid-20s, and the role of Albert Peterson is for someone in his early 30s. There are supporting roles for teenagers and adults, and there are numerous cameo roles for a variety of individuals.

“There’s something for everyone,” said Kruse. “Actually, two of the best roles are for people over fifty – they’re the roles of Albert’s mom, Mae, and for Kim’s dad, Mr. McAfee. Both deliver some of the best lines; they have the potential to steal the show.”

To assemble the cast, Kruse will oversee auditions. Those who audition will be asked to read from the script, sing a song, and learn a basic dance routine. “Really, it’s painless,” he said. “The audition gives the directors a chance to find the right person for each part. When someone is auditioning, we want them to do their best so we try to make the process as non-threatening as possible.”

Tam Johnson will accompany each person who auditions; Johnson is the show’s musical director. Those who audition should bring a song to sing. “It can be a show-tune or it can be a favorite hymn,” she said. “Really, it doesn’t matter as long as the person auditioning is comfortable with the song. Coming with a prepared song gives the directors the chance to hear a performer’s range as well as watch them interpret a song. Those are important qualities when selecting the show’s leads.”

Finally, potential cast members will learn a basic dance routine choreographed by Alana Pfeifer and Pat Breeding, the show’s choreographers. “We don’t expect dance perfection,” Breeding said. “We just want to see if people have rhythm. Plus, the dance part of the audition helps us identify people with special skills and talents. Often, the cast members give us the ideas for how to choreograph a song based upon their skills.”

Performances are July 23, 24, and 15.

For more information people can contact Kruse at 785-562-5629

About Derek Nester

Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids, and graduated from Valley Heights High School in May of 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communication. After stops at KFRM and KCLY radio in Clay Center, he joined KNDY in 2002 as a board operator and play by play announcer. Derek is now responsible for the digital content of Dierking Communications, Inc. 6 radio stations. In 2005 Derek joined the staff of KCFX radio in Kansas City as a production assistant for the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, which airs on 69 radio stations across 9 Midwest states.