Grace Zendejas, as Kim MacAfee, and Noah Ramirez, as Conrad Birdie, take the stage at a recent dress rehearsal for “Bye Bye Birdie,” which will start showing at Hollister High School July 15.

The cast, crew and producers of San Benito Stage Company are excited to bring their performance of the theater classic “Bye Bye Birdie” to audiences in Hollister this month.

The production is SBSC’s first live, in-person summertime family show—featuring kids, teens and adults on the cast and crew—in two years, Director and Producer Derek Barnes said.

The show opens at 7pm July 15 at Hollister High School’s auditorium, and continues on Fridays and Saturdays through July 30. Two matinees are scheduled for 2pm July 16 and 30.

The SBSC production features 32 cast members and 14 backstage and crewmembers, Barnes said. Co-directors are Jula Prak and Abby Chase (choreography).

The nonprofit theater organization and its production of “Bye Bye Birdie” are run entirely by volunteers. Barnes said just before the Covid-19 pandemic hit in 2020, SBSC was preparing to celebrate its 20th anniversary, the production crew were lining up shows they had done in the past as a kind of “revival” of live theater classics.

One such classic is “Bye Bye Birdie,” and the crew decided it would be their first summer show when Covid-related gathering restrictions were lifted, Barnes said.

“It’s a pretty popular show, it’s well known,” Barnes said. “It was successful last time. We thought it would work well with having the teens, adults and kids being part of the show.”

“Bye Bye Birdie” was originally written by Michael Stewart in 1960. It was adapted as a Broadway musical shortly thereafter, which was a Tony-award winning success. The story was also produced as a film directed by George Sidney in 1963.

Since then, “Bye Bye Birdie” has been a favorite among theater and drama producers, as well as audiences, for community playgroups and professional crews throughout the world. The show follows the story of Conrad Birdie, an “Elvis type rock star character,” SBSC actor Noah Ramirez (who plays Conrad) said in a video trailer for the upcoming local production. The light-hearted story follows Birdie’s rise to fame and his encounters with hordes of fans and pressures of the entertainment industry.

The show’s lyrics are by Lee Adams and the music is written by Charles Strouse. The live show was originally produced by Edward Padula. 

“Having a show that’s been around 50-plus years and is still kind of a staple for theater groups across the U.S., shows how popular and appealing it can be,” Barnes said.

He added that SBSC is looking forward to performing at Hollister High School, whose auditorium will be SBSC’s summer venue for the next several years.

Cast members for SBSC’s upcoming production of “Bye Bye Birdie” include PJ Crocker as Albert Peterson, Grace Zendejas as Kim McAfee and Kassandra Zarate as Rosie Alvarez.

“We’ve got great music, varying genres of music all within the show, and a whole lot going on,” Crocker said in the trailer. “It’s pretty fun.”

“Bye Bye Birdie” runs on stage at Hollister High School at 7pm Fridays and Saturdays from July 15-30. Afternoon shows are scheduled for 2pm July 16 and 30. Tickets cost $20 for adults, and $17 for students and seniors. 

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Michael Moore is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor for the Morgan Hill Times, Hollister Free Lance and Gilroy Dispatch since 2008. During that time, he has covered crime, breaking news, local government, education, entertainment and more.


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