Polaris Productions, a non-profit children's theatre group will present the classic 1960 Tony Award winning musical Bye Bye Birdie starting May 10th at Hudson Guild Theatre. LeCee Galmiche Johnson directs a talented cast of young actors ages 4 through 20. Christopher Cooley is Musical Director. See photos of the cast below!
Set in the late 1950s Bye Bye Birdie tells the story of rock and roll superstar Conrad Birdie who is about to be inducted into the army thereby disappointing millions of fans. Meanwhile his mild mannered agent, Albert Peterson, is going into debt staking his financial future on Birdie's success. As a publicity stunt Albert's faithful secretary and fiancé, Rosie, comes up with a plan to put Conrad on a popular national TV variety program (Ed Sullivan Show) where he will say goodbye to his huge following of teenage female fans by kissing one of them. The plan is executed, but the lucky girl chosen to be kissed happens to have a very jealous boyfriend.
Bye Bye Birdie with a book by Michael Stewart, music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Lee Adams won Tony Awards for Best Musical, Director, Choreographer and Supporting Actor. It features such musical theatre classic songs as Put on a Happy Face, A Lot of Livin' to Do, Rosie, Kids, and What Did I Ever See in Him?
Polaris Productions was started in 2008 by director and choreographer LeCee Galmiche Johnson as a non profit children's theatre group. Their mission is to produce entertaining musical theatre performed entirely by child and teenage actors typically ranging from ages 6 through 18. They offer training to young actors and the opportunity to demonstrate and improve their skills by participation in live theatrical productions.
LeCee Galmiche Johnson graduated cum laude with a B.A. in Drama from the University of Dallas. She has studied dance with Alfredo Corvino and Rosemerry Hanian and trained in acting with Anthony Mannino and Paul Mann, among others. The first production she directed and choreographed for Polaris was Into The Woods in 2008 followed by The Boyfriend in 2009, Annie and Little Shop of Horrors in 2010 and Honk! and A Christmas Carol in 2011. She also choreographed Once Upon a Mattress for the NYCHEA Players. Bye Bye Birdie marks the 7th musical that LeCee has directed for Polaris Productions in four years.
Christopher Cooley collaborates regularly with soprano Lauren Flanigan on music written for her by composers including Stephen Schwartz and Thomas Pasatieri. He played for the original workshop performances of Stephen Schwartz's Séance on A Wet Afternoon that was presented by New York City Opera last April. A BMI trained composer, his song Completely Different Place, co-written with lyricist Benj Pasek was recorded by Tony Award nominee Kelly O' Hara and is part of the BMI compilation CD No More Revivals.
Bye Bye Birdie opens Thursday, May 10th at the Hudson Guild Theatre (441 W. 26th Street Between 9th and 10th Avenues). Performance schedule is Thursday, May 10th at 7PM, Friday, May 11th at 1PM and 7PM, Saturday, May 12th at 1PM and 7PM and a Sunday May 13th matinee at 1PM. Tickets are $10 for shows on Thursday and Sunday (Special Mother's Day event) and $12 for all shows on Friday and Saturday. For tickets go to www.polarisproductions.org and click on Tickets or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets are also available at the door.
Photo credit: Carol Cote