Hello, Bye Bye — AiM anticipates hit with play

By Megan Smith

Hello, Bye Bye — AiM anticipates hit with play

Conrad Birdie’s adoring fans played by, front row, from left, Mary Logan Yancy, Autumn Shackleford, and Mikaylin Donahoe, and back row, Kelsey Harris, Cherish Garner, Aysia Campbell, Gracen Donahoe and Molly Woolworth. Staff photo by Emily Pitts

Prepare for broken hearts, wild parties, and disastrous consequences on June 10-14 at McNairy Central High School’s Little Theatre as Arts in McNairy presents Bye, Bye Birdie.

Under the direction of Bryan Essary, the production will take place at 7:30 p.m. nightly and at 2 p.m. on Sunday.  Admission will be $5 for students and $8 for adults.  

The plot centers around Conrad Birdie, a rock star played by Cameron Miller, of Selmer, who is drafted into the army.  

When Conrad makes plans to kiss one lucky audience member, Kim MacAfee, played by Allie Pitts, of Selmer, after performing his final song, all chaos breaks loose.

Starring as Conrad’s agent and song writer, Albert Peterson, is Joshua Steen, of Corinth. 

In the plot, Peterson falls in love with his secretary, played by Tonya Freeman of Corinth.  

“Josh and Tonya will have the audience falling in love with love,” Essary said.

Bye, Bye Birdie holds a special place in Steen’s heart — it was the first play he ever performed. Seven years ago, Steen played Peterson in a production of Bye, Bye Birdie at Corinth Theatre Arts, also under the direction of Essary.  

Steen studied theatre in college and has been in many productions since. This is Steen’s second production with Arts in McNairy, and he says that he feels as if he has come full circle. 

Steen said that Bye, Bye Birdie has made him want to do more acting, and he lauded the local production company.

“I am really pleased with how Arts in McNairy is growing,” Steen said. “It’s what community theatre should be.”

Steen anticipates excellent audience reception of the play.  He says the music is going to be really good, and the play will be a lot of fun for the audience. 

“If someone comes to see the show, they are going to identify with at least one character in the show,” he said. “There is really something for everyone.”

Also featured in the production are Faris Bakeer, of Selmer, as Kim’s boyfriend; Hillary Mead, of Selmer, as a tempting new secretary for Albert; Christy Carmack, of Selmer, as Albert’s mother; and Caleb McLean, of Selmer, as a local proprietor.  

Performing the roles of members of Kim MacAfee’s family are David Maxedon, of Corinth, as her father; Joanna Pitts, of Selmer, as her mother; and Houston Robinson, of Selmer, as her younger brother.

The director has great hopes for the production — Essary says Miller’s vocals are excellent, and he anticipates captivating performances from a number of cast members.

“I have had the pleasure of working with many casts, but have never had a more talented group as in this show.  Good music, a good cast, and excellent musicians equal one terrific show to not be missed.”