QUEENSBURY — Abby Delio sent a message to the cast of “Bye Bye Birdie” last week, reminding the students not to break character on stage.
Delio, the assistant director, said the students are having so much fun rehearsing the satirical comedy they often find themselves laughing and smiling through their scenes.
“We hope the audience will have as much fun watching as we do doing it, because honestly, every night, it’s so hard not to smile on stage and break character, because it’s just hysterical,” said Delio, who plays Mae Peterson in the Queensbury High School musical.
More than 50 students have been rehearsing the show since January, which will be performed at 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday and at 2 p.m. Saturday in the high school auditorium.
“It’s your 1958 Elvis satire. So it’s really a satire on social issues of 1958, gender roles of 1958,” said Director Avery Babson. “It was really meant for the audience of its time.”
Elvis fans who remember the absolute teenage hysteria that ensued when he was drafted will enjoy the satirical comedy, said Babson, adding that she wanted to direct a show that was different from the darker “Les Misérables” performed last year.
Babson admitted a teenage comedy with so many moving parts and dance choreography was much more difficult to put on.
“When you’re playing yourself, so to speak, your own age, you don’t have anyone to really mimic,” she said. “It’s hard playing your own age sometimes.”
Julian Tushabe, a senior, plays Albert Peterson, whom he describes as a “goofy, sensitive mama’s boy with commitment issues.”
“It’s a very big contrast to what I’m usually playing, which is Javert, Sweeney Todd, all the intense roles,” Tushabe said. “It’s really rewarding to get to play the good guy for once. My mom gets to see me as a good guy.”
As seniors, Delio and Tushabe are excited to finally be in scenes together.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had a scene with you before,” Delio said to Tushabe. “And now I’m his mother.”
The high school cast members got a lesson in 1950s telephone technology when they tried to find phones with a cord and base for the iconic song “The Telephone Hour” in the show.
Every girl has a telephone attached to her by a cord as they dance and sing with the old devices.
“That was the most difficult prop to get,” Babson said.
The phones had to have cords that also detached from their bases. A plea on Facebook eventually helped secure the necessary phones for the students, most of whom have never used a phone with a cord, unless it was to charge their cell phones.
“They haven’t really mentioned the phones except for, ‘How are we going to dance with these cords wrapped around us?’” Babson laughed.
Music Director Laura Lee DeLand said the students were extremely prepared for auditions. She is always impressed with the students’ level of commitment to the musicals.
“We’re talking long nights,” DeLand said. “These are a couple of long months that they’ve dedicated. They have a great energy. They do their homework. They come in day one and they know their vocal parts, which makes our lives easier.”
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