Bye Bye Birdie, a Barnesville Musical Production

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Bye Bye Birdie, a Barnesville Musical Production

Caroline Redding, Editor

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The Barnesville Theater Department puts on two major shows a year: a fall musical and a spring play. This year’s fall musical is Bye Bye Birdie, a dazzling show that they’ve been preparing since September. It’s about an Elvis-like character that is drafted into the army, so his flailing manager and his long-suffering girlfriend concoct a song, “One Last Kiss”, for his big publicity stunt and for him to kiss a young fan before being sent off. Open House for the show is 7:00 pm on Friday, November 9th and Saturday, November 10th, and 1:30 pm on Sunday, November 11th.

Every production isn’t possible without the amazing director, Alissa Nibbe. She said what goes into a musical is dedication, love, and magic. Every person needs to be dedicated in every possible way, from practicing lines to choreography. Another dedication needed is set building. A lot of love is put into the sets of this show, but even with all the magic made on stage, they don’t magically appear.  Nibbe said, “I do the sets along with my husband, as well as a handful of students who pitch in and help.” One of the big struggles for the production is the practice and rehearsal place: the Cafegymatorium. “A big struggle for us is that rehearsals are very difficult in an incredibly inadequate space,” said Director Nibbe, “but our triumph is being able to put on spectacular shows every year in a horrible space.” More goes into making a musical than people realize, and this is only part of it.

Music is what really makes the show a musical. The wonderful Music Director, also the high school and junior high choir teacher, is Mrs. Jennifer Gylland. She puts in so much work to help students learn the challenging music they will eventually need to perform. “You have to just listen to the music and the story,” Mrs. Gylland said, “I even made a playlist of the songs so I could listen to them while I run to better familiarize myself with it.” This task is never easy. Learning the songs is one thing, but then turning around to teach it is another. “One of our songs wasn’t available in the books we got, so we had to listen to it and write it ourselves,” she said. Not only that, but she has had to help train people’s voices to hit notes that they haven’t been able to hit before. Musical music isn’t easy. It is some of the hardest music to learn because it’s written for broadway professionals, not high school students, so her being able to shape the music and helping people be able to project and learn it is absolutely amazing.

The students participating are putting in so much effort, and they are doing an absolutely amazing job. Some of the newcomers have been struggling with character and staying focused on the scene, but they are learning fast. The dedication required is energy draining, but it’s all worth it in the end. Even with these challenges, other skills come naturally to the students. “Connecting with the people I’m on stage with is the easiest thing. Most of the people I act with I can easily react to, and everyone in this show is so fun. I love acting with everyone,” said student actress senior Elizabeth Bredman. Of course everyone has a favorite scene or song in the show, but it’s hard to not just pick them all. “My favorite song is ‘What Did I Ever See In Him’. I like working with Tessa Baker (sophomore) because I feel like we work well together. I love the emotion,” said student actress junior Mattea Speath. The students in this show love what they are doing and can’t wait for you to see the show this weekend!  

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