"Birdie" brings B'ville kids to the '50s

There are 50 young people in Baldwinsville who have taken a delightful trip back to an era of Ed Sullivan, Elvis' pelvis and the burgeoning Cold War. They don't care though. They are focused on their hero, Conrad Birdie.

"Bye Bye Birdie" is the second youth offering from the directing team of Mark Rossler and Rebecca Croucher through Baldwinsville Theatre Guild. They filled the stage with enthusiasm, color and, most of all, talent. Packed houses highlighted the opening weekend of this well-tuned production.

Brian Scott drives this show as Albert Peterson, the hypochondriac mama's boy who heads Almaelou, the promoter of teen heartthrob Conrad Birdie. Scott's strong singing style and adept dancing ability are a true delight. Peterson's secretary, Rose Alvarez, is in love with Albert but would prefer him as "An English Teacher." Grace Geno is devoted to Peterson but shows her dancing ability in "Spanish Rose."

Birdie is on top of the charts until he is drafted into the Army. Peterson tries to rebound his business by creating a media event. He sends his star to Sweet Apple, Ohio to kiss one special girl before he dons his uniform. The president of the local Conrad Birdie Fan Club is Kim McAfee, the chosen one for this magic kiss.

Kali Boutwell has a powerful voice and a strong stage presence. She gives life to the idolizing teenager who believes she should really settle down. After all, Kim is 16 years old. She is great at physical comedy especially in her scenes with Birdie and her steady beau, Hugo Peabody (Nick Augello; Alec Richardson on alternate shows).

Albert's mother, Mae Peterson, is one of those stage roles than can steal a show. Sarah Boutwell does just that with her fur coat and sizable presence. The New York City accent and obnoxious tone make her the mother you love to hate. If she isn't ripping into Rosie's ethnic background, she reminds Albert how much she gave up for his success. It's only in the second act when Scott's Albert rises to send his mother home. Boutwell's treatment of "A Mother Doesn't Matter Anymore" is as touching as it is humorous.

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