Thursday, March 1, 2012

Bird is the Word - by Suzy Manett


Often our audience members, donors, volunteers, actors, students, teachers and parents have so many great stories about the shows that they love. We've heard from patrons who have a tradition of coming to see certain shows with several generations of their family, and what a special experience that is for them. So, we decided to ask our GRCT friends to submit short essays about why the musical Bye, Bye Birdie is significant to them. We'd like to share a very dear and heartwarming story that was written by a theatre enthusiast!

Written by Suzy Manett

I’ve been fortunate to sit in the audience of hundreds of concerts, plays, and musical productions. I consider this a hobby, my passion, and a valued choice for spending my free time. And after all those years of concerts and shows, I can still pinpoint the time when Music and the Arts became “up close and personal” to me. It wasn’t a symphony orchestra or a rock concert, or a Shakespeare play, or the Nutcracker ballet during the holidays. It was Bye, Bye Birdie.

Bye, Bye Birdie was the first musical theatre production I watched in an intimate venue: the auditorium at Creston High School. The year was 1975, the show was directed and produced by a young educator, Duane Davis, set design by art teacher, Lou Vanderhave, and my perfect older sister, Patti Manett Mirandette, was cast as Kim Mcafee.

As 10-year-olds, my twin sister and I were glued to every performance (all three) from the first few rows, silently mouthing every line and every lyric. The cast might as well have taken the show on a national tour. To us, Bye, Bye Birdie was that good.

Every Bye, Bye Birdie since then has been an exercise in what I remember from 1975; a comparative video in my head of Kim, Conrad, Hugo, Rosie, Albert, and Mr. Mcafee. Now, all these years later, to add even more poignancy to Bye, Bye Birdie, my daughter, Katie Duiven, is cast as Kim Mcafee in GRCT’s production of Bye, Bye Birdie. I couldn’t be more thrilled. To see Katie reprise the role Aunt Patti portrayed 37 years ago brings Bye, Bye Birdie full circle.

GRCT’s Bye, Bye Birdie will bring new meaning to my memories. And I’m grateful GRCT has helped foster Katie’s love for Music and the Arts and transfer this passion for Bye, Bye Birdie to a new generation. That’s the story, Morning Glory.

Thanks for sharing your story with us!

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