Patrick E. Litowitz
New Castle News
NEW CASTLE —
The Internet presents … Elvis Presley.
To understand the personalities and references associated with “Bye Bye Birdie,” veteran director Paul Angelucci pointed his Shenango High cast to several resources.
“Go YouTube it” was one suggestion.
Angelucci also closed generational gaps with a history lesson on the rock legend’s life as Presley prepared to enter the Army. The musical is loosely based on the frenzy surrounding that event.
“Initially, they’re like, ‘What?’ ” he said of students’ reaction.
“When you’re doing shows … from years ago, you still have to throw in a lot of history, too. You have to explain to them, ‘That’s what this means.’ ”
The ensemble learned well, Angelucci said.
“There were definitely some lines that I had to go, ‘How should I go about this, Paul?” senior Kaitlyn Shaffer recalled.
Shaffer, who plays the role of Rose “Rosie” Alvarez,” is one of four seniors who headline the show. Joining her are Jenna Cochran (playing Kim MacAfee), Christian Davis (Albert Peterson) and Kevin Younger (Conrad Birdie).
Younger portrays the rock singer who gives “one last kiss” to 15-year-old Kim MacAfee of Sweet Apple, Ohio, before heading into the military. Younger somewhat sacrificed for the part, changing his hairstyle and shaving his beard but keeping the mutton chops to assume the Elvis-like persona.
He also credited a YouTube search that developed his exaggerated gyrations.
“It’s all there. I got the oil can out. It’s all in motion,” he said, laughing.
Cochran admired the era’s poodle skirts, bobby socks, saddle shoes — although she doesn’t recall ever wearing any of those items.
“Maybe for Halloween,” she said. “(However, the costumes are) full of bright colors and patterns but it’s also very clean.”
Playing Birdie’s manager and Rosie’s boyfriend, Davis is appearing in his first lead.
“His role is to keep everything together,” Davis said. “He’s trying to keep Rosie calm as she’s getting angry at him. He’s trying to keep Conrad Birdie out of trouble.”
“Bye Bye Birdie” marks Angelucci’s fifth musical with Shenango.
“The kids have a blast doing it, and it shows. I tell the kids that if they’re having fun onstage so will the audience.”
The opening performance is at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the Shenango High auditorium.
If you’re going ...
•Shenango High’s presentation of the musical “Bye Bye Birdie” will take place 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday in addition to 2 p.m. Sunday at the high school auditorium.
•Ticket prices are $6, students; $7, seniors; and $9, adults. They may be purchased from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the high school office through tomorrow or on the day of the performance.
•For more photos and a complete cast list, visit www.ncnewsonline.com.
The Cast List
Albert Peterson: Christian Davis
Rose Alvarez: Kaitlyn Shaffer
Helen: Carly Danielson
Nancy: Brielle Braun
Alice: Liz Salem
Margie: Alexis Sparano
Penelope Ann: Brianna Bartley
Deborah Sue: Jayci Ross
Carol: Julie DiGiammarino
Karl: Devin Ross
Fred: Jacob Bintrim
Harvey: Michael West
Peyton: John Othites
Arthur: Josiah Bupp
Harold: Stephen Thomas
Ursula Merkle: Paige Cassella
Kim MacAfee: Jenna Cochran
Doris MacAfee: Christa Bupp
Harry MacAfee: Michael Gaydos
Randolph MacAfee: Ian Richards
Sad Girls: Jayci Ross, Caitlyn Windhorst
Happy Face Dancers: Rachel Burger, Izzabel Champ, Brianna Bartley
Mae Peterson: Briana Watkins
Policeman: Reed Currie
Reporters: Julie DiGiammarino, Kasie Latimer
Photographers: Julianna McCandless, Stephen Thomas
Conrad Birdie: Kevin Younger
Conrad’s Guitar Man: Blaise McKenzie
Conductor: Shane Locke
Hugo Peabody: Kyle Carpenter
Mayor: Craig Blose
Mayor’s Wife: Logan Lutton
Mrs. Merkle: Emma Stewart
Mr. Johnson: Joseph Thomas
Gloria Rasputin: Rachel Burger
Maude: Jesse DeLorenzo
Adult Townspeople: Lindsey Walker, Jenna DiGiammarino, Camden Cwynar, Danny Sparano, Eric Groves, Morgan Hill, Kendall Cleaver, Emma Norris, Lexie Rigby
Teenage Townspeople: Brooke George, Montana VanDerZee, Peyton Quigley, Elaina Chapnell, Zoey Angelucci, Sam Miloser, Hayden Carpenter, Izzabel Champ, Mia Albanese, Shaina Vitale, Logan Ferrucci