‘Bye Bye Birdie’: TCT stages musical comedy

By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Ladies and gentleman, Conrad Birdie is in the building.
Tupelo Community Theatre presents “Bye Bye Birdie” next weekend at The Lyric. The musical comedy focuses on a 1950s rock star, Birdie (Clint Reid), who’s just been drafted into the Army. With his star about to be shipped overseas, Conrad’s agent, Albert Peterson (Jeff Houin), is nervous about the future. His secretary and girlfriend, Rose (Mary Frances Massey), plots a publicity stunt for Conrad: He’ll give a kiss to an adoring fan before heading overseas.
“And hilarity ensues,” said director Suzanne Oakley.
It’s easy to create a believable Birdie in the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll.
“We are using some traditional Elvis costuming and hairstyles,” Oakley said. “Clint Reid does a good Elvis impersonation, and he has a velvety voice.”
But Reid isn’t the only one having fun.
“Bye Bye Birdie” is Houin’s second time on the TCT stage. He also starred in “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” but he’s got a bigger role in “Birdie.”
“(Albert) is a big mama’s boy. He has no spine,” he said.
He shares the stage with Allison Nichols, 15, who stars as Kim MacAfee, the girl chosen to get a smooch from Birdie.
“Kim is a typical 1950s teenager: She’s boy crazy and she’s a lot of fun to play,” Nichols said. “It’s a lot of fun to faint at least five times during the show.”
Both actors are having fun bringing 1950s rock ‘n’ roll and fandom to the stage.
“It’s a great show,” Nichols said. “The cast and crew are working really hard, and the show’s fantastic.”
The story and music are fan favorites, Houin said, and that makes it fun to see.
“It’s an oldie but a goodie,” he said. “It’s a good musical for springtime.”
sheena.barnett@journalinc.com

• Dim the lights
What: Tupelo Community Theatre presents “Bye Bye Birdie”
When: 7:30 p.m. May 2-3, 2 p.m. May 4
Where: The Lyric
Cost: $22/adults, $10/students
Info: (662) 844-1935

• “Bye Bye Birdie” cast: Clint Reid (Conrad Birdie); Jeff Houin (Albert Peterson); Mary Frances Massey (Rose Alvarez); Allison Nichols (Kim MacAfee); Storm Ray (Hugo Peabody); Bobby Geno (Mr. Harry MacAfee); Brittany Malone (Mrs. Doris MacAfee); Carter Maharrey (Randolph MacAfee); Sherrie Black (Mrs. Mae Peterson); Caitlin Kendrick (Ursula Merkle); Liz Dawson (Mrs. Merkle); Kevin Barrington (Mayor); Lisa Poole (Mayor’s Wife); Courtney Gansman (Gloria Rasputin); Josh Martin (Harvey Johnson); Rick Griswold (Mr. Johnson); Layla Taylor (Helen); Austyn Davis (Nancy); Brittany Gusmus (Alice); Mallory Davidson (Margie); Raymond Brown (Freddie); Hunter York (Karl); Leslie Tackitt (Penelope); Jessica Briggs (Deborah Sue); Tyler Swinney (Lee); Mary Clair Kelly (Phyllis); Beverly Murphree (Phyllis’ Mom); Maggie Davis (Sad Girl); Jay Dey and Christi Houin (Sad Girl’s Parents); Wesley Burcham (Reporter); Mark Maharrey (Maude); Krevious Crudup (Tango); Julianna Coleman (Penny); Meredith McLaurin (Sully); Jake White (Telly); Chris Hussey (Croony)