William B. Travis High School
1111 Harlem Road, Richmond Texas 77469
Phone 281-634-7138

TRAVIS THEATRICAL CO.
Travis High School Department of Fine Arts
Theatre Arts Program

Present

BYE BYE BIRDIE


Brennan Blankenship as Kim MacAfee at the Travis High School Theatre production of Bye Bye Birdie.  Photo by Mark Towell.

 

January 30, 31 & February 6 and 7, 2009

Book by Michael Stewart

Music by Charles Strouse

Lyrics by Lee Adams

Originally produced by Edward Padula

Produced by special arrangement with Tams Witmark Music Library , Inc.


The cast of Bye Bye Birdie at the Travis High School 2009 theatre production.  Photo by Mark Towell.

 

Travis High School Theatre Arts Program will present the musical Bye Bye Birdie

A rock singer travels to a small Ohio town to make his farewell television performance and kiss his biggest fan before he is drafted.   Travis High School Theatre Arts Program will present the 2009 musical Bye Bye Birdie on January 30, 31 and February 6 and 7, 2009.  All shows begin at 7 p.mBye Bye Birdie was winner of the Tony Award for best musical in 1961 when it made it's debut on Broadway starring Dick van Dyke and Chita Rivera

The story is about Conrad Birdie, an "Elvis-like" rock star who has been drafted into the army, much to the dismay of all his screaming obsessive female fans.  One such fan, Kim Macafee is chosen by Conrad's agents, Albert and Rosie to receive "One Last Kiss" from Birdie as part of a plan to make enough money so that they can get married and get out of the music business.  When they arrive in Kim's hometown of Sweet Apple, Ohio they are met by the town's Conrad Birdie faithful, as well as some skeptical parents and teenage boys.  From there trouble mounts as jealous boyfriends and protective parents clash with Birdie's freewheeling attitudes and poor influence over their kids. 

Bye Bye Birdie is full of memorable songs such as "Kids", "A Lot of Livin' to Do" and "Put on a Happy Face."  All performances are in the Travis High School Auditorium located at 11111 Harlem Rd. , Richmond , TX 77406 .  Tickets are $7 if purchased in advance and $10 at the door.  For reservations call 281-634-7138.


The cast of Bye Bye Birdie at the Travis High School 2009 theatre production.  Photo by Mark Towell.

 


 Travis High School Theatre Director KYLE MARTIN

 Kyle Martin - Director, Travis Theatrical Company.  Travis High School, FBISD

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Interview with Kyle Martin, Director for Bye Bye Birdie

By Theresa Pisula
theresa@houstontheatre.com
January 2009 - Houston, Texas

Kyle Martin is the director of Travis Theatrical Company and he also directed their 2009 musical Bye Bye Birdie.  I interviewed him last year for Travis High School's production of Godspell.  He comes from Sterling High School in Baytown where he served as Technical Director and Thespian Sponsor for the last 3 years.  Before that, Mr. Martin was the assistant director at Channelview High School.  He has been involved in theatre his entire life including the UIL One Act Play competition for 2 years in high school.  Mr. Martin went on to Abilene Christian University where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre.  After college, he tried his hand in the professional world, working with theatres in Dallas before becoming a certified teacher and moving to the Houston area.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors at the Baytown Little Theater.  Mr. Martin lives with his wife Amanda, who teaches second grade and two cats.

 


The cast of Bye Bye Birdie at the Travis High School 2009 theatre production directed by Kyle Martin.  Photo by Mark Towell.

 

Theresa:  Why did you choose to do the musical Bye Bye Birdie this year?

Kyle:  Itís a show I did in high school and I had a lot of fun with it.  Itís got fun music.

Theresa:  What part did you play?

Kyle:  I was in the chorus.  Actually my dad directed it at a community theatre and I wasnít going to be in it.  I wanted to take the summer off because Iíve been so busy during the school year but my dad bribed me to be in it because he needed more guys (laughs).  Itís a really fun play there are lots of people that can be in it.  I wanted to do something that was really inclusive to bring in some new people, fresh faces.

Theresa:  Have you seen the movie?

Kyle:  Iíve never seen the one they did with Jason Alexander.  I never saw that but I heard it was more like the stage version than the Dick Van Dyke movie.  The first movie was very different than the play.

Theresa:  How does this play relate to todayís society?  Itís been 40 years since the original movie.

Kyle:  Yeah, but I think the play really discusses, talks about and hits on the theme of celebrity culture and the way we kind of put celebrities on a pedestal.  Itís really gotten worse over time.  We now have this entire TV channels that are dedicated to celebrity gossip.  Itís gotten even more ridiculous.  It also helps you see that times donít change as much as people think they do.  I mean they do change but people talk about the good old days when kids didnít act up.  But still had problems with their kids back then, it was just different.  So I think it has a lot of timeless aspects like parent-child conflict and parents who donít understand their kids.  Kids who look up to celebrities and if theyíre able to get close to them they notice theyíre not necessarily anything to look up to. 

 


(L-R) Abbey Crane as Ruby MacAfee, Wesley Hodges as Mr. MacAfee and Reade Burke as Mrs. MacAfee in the Travis High School 2009 theatre production of Bye Bye Birdie.  Photo by Mark Towell.

 

Theresa:  What are the challenges in putting this play together?

Kyle:  The technical challenges are probably the biggest.  The beginning of the play is set in New York.  Then they go to Sweet Apple, Ohio and while theyíre in Sweet Apple, Ohio there are lots of different locations so we had to build several different locations.  One of the most difficult was of the house, the MacAfee home.  So we had to figure out a way to get it on and off the stage and still be able to have a house onstage.  That was a challenge.  We have a lot of things flying in from the fly loft, from the area above.  So there are a lot of technical challenges and a number of locations for the play are set.  Thatís the biggest challenges.  Also, itís a big cast, lots of kids.  The more people that are there, it is more difficult.

Theresa:  Do you think youíll be ready (laughs)?

Kyle:  Yeah, weíll be ready.  Somethingís going up onstage.  I know it will be entertaining.  And the kids are really talented so theyíll pull it off.

Theresa:  Now I'm changing the subject totally and would like to get into something completely different.  I'm just curious as to society's opinion of a current event that is of historical proportions.  Since we have a new year, and a new presidential administration.  What are your thoughts about our new president?

Kyle:  Teachers arenít really supposed to talk about our political preferences to the kids.  But me personally, Iíve been a huge Barack Obama fan from the moment I heard him speak at the 2004 Democratic National Convention four years ago.  Thatís when he first started coming to be well known to people.  Before that, nobody knew who he was.  Four years ago people started to take notice of him and they invited him to speak at the DNC.  Everything that Iíve ever heard him say just really makes sense to me.  So Iíve been supporting him.


The cast of Bye Bye Birdie at the Travis High School 2009 theatre production directed by Kyle Martin.  Photo by Mark Towell.

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Interview with the Cast of Bye Bye Birdie

Travis High School Theatre Arts Program 2009 Musical Production

 By Theresa Pisula
theresa@houstontheatre.com
January 2009 - Houston, Texas

 

Jessica ReisÖÖÖÖÖÖÖÖRosie Alvarez

Aaron HlavatyÖÖÖÖÖÖÖAlbert Peterson

Richard GomezÖÖÖÖÖÖ...Conrad Birdie

 

Senior student Aaron Hlavaty has recently been in The Diary of Anne Frank as Mr. Van Dann.  He is the current president of the Travis Theatrical Company 2009 Officers.  Aaron did an excellent job as Albert Peterson, and I would go as far as to say that it's as good as Dick Van Dyke's performance in the 1963 movie Bye Bye Birdie.  Aaron enjoys seeing plays, watching movies, playing video games and listening to music.  Aaron is a member of Mu Alpha Theta, NHS and the YES program here at Travis High School.

Jessica Reis, also a senior was recently seen in The Diary of Anne Frank as Mrs. Frank.  In her spare time she enjoys dancing, singing, knitting, watching movies and water sports.  She is a member of PYCC, the Sign Language Club at Travis High School, Forever Dance Studios and her church's youth group.  Richard Chaz Gomez has been in The Hunchback of Notre Dame as Captain Phoebus and Little Shop of Horrors as Seymour.  In his spare time Richard enjoys singing, hanging out with friends and worshiping.  Richard is a Choir officer at Travis High School and is also a member of Link Crew and Best Buddies.  Outside of school Richard sings in his church's youth band, Crossfire, and acts / directs in his church's drama ministry, iMPACT!

 


(L-R) Rosie Alvarez played by Jessica Reis and Aaron Hlavaty who plays Albert Peterson in the Travis High School 2009 theatre production of Bye Bye Birdie.  Photo by Mark Towell.

 

Theresa:  Tell us about the part that youíre playing in Bye Bye Birdie

Jessica:  I play Rosie and she is Albertís secretary.  Sheís been her secretary for 8 years and theyíre in love.  Heís putting off everything, all the plans because his mother doesnít like me very much.  Heís trying to make her happy by staying in the music business.  But heíd rather be an English teacher.  So when Conrad Birdie ends up going into the army, I come up with this grand idea that Conrad Birdie can get one last kiss.  And weíll make him all the money we need to get him out of the business to send him back to college to be an English teacher so we can get married.

Aaron:  I play Albert Peterson, Conrad Birdieís manager and Rosieís love interest.  So basically when Conrad goes to the army itís my job to make sure he goes out with a bang and weíve maximized his profits.  The character is a really heavy mommaís boy, always dependent on his mom.  Iím kind of the same way, not nearly as bad as the character is but I can see where heís coming from.  If I wanted to I could just sit back and my mom would take care of everything for me but I try to have some sort of independence. 

Richard:  My character is Conrad Birdie.  Heís the rock star.  The story tells of someone like Elvis, kind of, because Conrad Birdie gets drafted to go to the army.  His agents are Rosie Alvarez and Albert Peterson played by Jessica Reis and Aaron Hlavaty.  They decide that basically heís going on national television on the Ed Sullivan show.  My character Conrad Birdie will sing a song that Albertís going to write for him to one girl.  One girl that they choose (Kim MacAfee played by Brennan Blankenship) and Conrad will give her a kiss symbolizing him as kissing all the girls and saying goodbye.  Heís a rock star, heís rebellious.  He wants to do his own thing.  And sometimes he doesnít agree with his agent. 

Theresa:  Do you sing?
Richard:  I have 3 songs that I sing:  one song is Honestly Sincere which is me singing to all these girls and then they swoon over.  The other one I sing on the Ed Sullivan show which is One Last Kiss.
Theresa:  Do you play the guitar?
Richard:  No, I actually have a guitar player.  He plays guitar behind me.  And then I have another song called A Lot of Liviní To Do which is a big dance number.  All the teens go out and want to have fun.  And Conradís kind of like influencing them badly.
Theresa:  (Laughs) the groupies, you mean?  You can say itÖ.
Richard:  But back in the day they werenít as bad as they are now. 
Theresa:  You donít know that (laughs). 
Richard:  Maybe, maybe (laughs).  I wasnít there.

 


Jessica Reis as Rosie Alvarez in the Travis High School 2009 theatre production of Bye Bye Birdie.  Photo by Mark Towell.

 

Theresa:  Have you seen the movie?

Jessica:  Yes, I have.  I canít really count how many times.

Aaron:  No, actually I havenít.  I didnít really want to watch it because I didnít want to try to imitate the actor onstage.

Theresa:  Right.  They made the movie back in 1963 where Dick Van Dyke played the Albert Peterson character.  And they made another movie in 1995 where Jason Alexander, the guy from Seinfeld plays your character.

Aaron:  I heard about that.  I havenít seen that one yet. 

Theresa:  Wow.  Why not?

Aaron:  Yeah, I wanna keep all that stuff out of my head.  Whenever you watch the movie and they do certain little quirks.  I donít want to feel like I need to steal that.  Everything that I have I want to come up with on my own.  That way I can get more comfortable instead of just imitating the character.

Richard:  Iíve seen both movies.  Iíve seen the one dated back in the day with Dick Van Dyke and Ann Margret, which I love.  And Iíve seen the one they did a while back for television with Vanessa Williams and Jason Alexander.  I have both of those on DVD. 

Theresa:  How do both of them compare?

Richard:  Well the first movie, they changed the story.  Albert Peterson doesnít want to be an English teacher he wants to be a Chemistry teacher.  This is the one with Dick Van Dyke.  And they never really show the Ed Sullivan show until the end.  Act I is in the end of the movie.  It is so confusing.  When I watched it, I asked my director, ďHow are we going to do this one scene that they did in the movie?Ē  And he said, ďWhat are you talking about?Ē  And I said, ďThey sped up really fast and they did this chemical thing.  How are we going to do that?Ē and he said ďWhat are you talking about?Ē  So itís completely different from the stage play. 

Theresa:  Is it more based on the 1995 movie?

Richard:  The stage play?  No, no, no.  The stage play was done before they made the movie.  It was the Broadway Musical with Dick Van Dyke and Chita Rivera.  And then afterwards they made a movie with Dick Van Dyke and Ann Margret playing Kim MacAfee.

 


(Center) Richard Gomez as Conrad Birdie in the Travis High School 2009 theatre production of Bye Bye Birdie.  Photo by Mark Towell.

 

Theresa:  So how does the 1995 movie compare?

Richard:  That one is a lot like the stage play.  The music is strictly the same.  In the other 1963 movie with Dick Van Dyke, Rosie doesnít sing at all.  In the 1995 movie is the same as the stage play but the only thing different is they added 3 songs.  They added Bye Bye Birdie, one that Vanessa Williams sings and one that the mother sings.  Thatís the only difference.  Everything else is strictly like the stage version. 

Theresa:  So the 1995 movie is a lot like the Broadway show.  And thatís what you have here.  So Iím guessing thatís probably easier to interpret than the movie.

Richard:  Oh yeah.

Theresa:  How does this play compare in todayís society.  I mean, you saw the 1995 movie and Iím sure it was more updated.  Was that movie more like todayís music, more hip?

Richard:  Oh yeah.  It was definitely more rocker-ish.  Definitely more hip.

Theresa:  So how are you portraying your character?

Richard:  My character, basically I get onstage and throw my hips around.  I have girls that cling to my arms and my legs.  Itís really awkward.  But thatís what you do (laughs).

Theresa:  Youíre the rock star (laughs).

Richard:  My costumes are very Elvis-like with lots of sequins, definitely that time period.  So weíre staying very true to that time period.

 


(Center) Richard Gomez as Conrad Birdie in the Travis High School 2009 theatre production of Bye Bye Birdie.  Photo by Mark Towell.

 

Jessica:  The 1963 movie changes the story line a lot.  In that movie actually, Rosie doesnít have much of a character.  Albertís not as big of a part of it.  Itís a completely different story line.  For the most part the songs are the same.  There are some extra songs added into the play.

Theresa:  Iím just curious if those songs that were added were in the 1995 movie.  And even at 1995, thatís more than 10 years ago.  Now that weíre in 2009, how does this play relate to whatís going on in todayís society?  I mean would you compare Conrad Birdie to one of the Jonas Brothers (laughs)?

Jessica:  (Laughs) I would definitely say heís as big as a Jonas brother.  Kind of a Brad Pitt-Jonas BrotherÖÖ

Theresa: (laughs) or Justin Timberlake

Jessica:  Justin Timberlake is perfect!  Thatís definitely it.  All the girls are driving mad over him.  But thereís also the other side of everyone going off to the army and we have the war going on now.

Aaron:  Itís a little bit different than today.  It's set in a different time where they still draft for the war.  But Conrad Birdie is a big pop sensation and we see that all over the place today like Hannah Montana and Jonas Brothers, all those people that my sister is in love with.  Itís a show about fame and love and all the stuff that still pertains today.  I mean, we have all these celebrities and they all have managers who have girlfriends and boyfriends.

 


(Center) Richard Gomez as Conrad Birdie in the Travis High School 2009 theatre production of Bye Bye Birdie.  Conrad Birdie's guitarist is Said Jalajal.  Photo by Mark Towell.

 

Theresa:  Since you are all seniors now, what are your plans for the future after high school?

Jessica:  Thatís actually a really hard question.  I havenít completely decided yet.  I applied to Sam Houston State this year.  I havenít gotten my acceptance letter yet but its coming.  I know I can get in.

Theresa:  Do you want to stay in Houston or would you prefer to go outside of Houston?

Jessica:  Well thatís the thing.  I kind of have options.  Sam Houston is my backup plan.  What I really want to do is go to the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts and study there for 2 years.  And they have programs where I can stay in New York or go to London for 2 years, get my degree.  But they only take 180 students so I have to prepare for that audition and try to get in there.  The audition has been scheduled for  February 28th, 2009.

Theresa:  Oh how exciting for youÖ.

Jessica:  (laughs) itís really crazy.  I just learned about it a week and a half ago. 

Theresa:  You did?  What was that like?

Jessica:  Mind blowing.  I was planning to stay near Houston.  You know, come back, visit the school or maybe get into a smaller school butÖ..

Theresa:  Did you get it in the mail?

Jessica:  I got a call.  They called me and said they wanted me to audition.

Theresa:  Did you answer the phone?

Jessica:  (smiles) my dad answered.  I actually had to call them back later.  ButÖmy goodnessÖthat was nerve-racking. 

Theresa:  Are they coming out to different cities?

Jessica:  They have a tour of auditions so theyíll go to Austin, Houston, CaliforniaÖall these big cities like Nashville.  But the one Iím going to will be held in downtown Houston. 

Theresa:  Do you know how many people are going to be at the audition?

Jessica:  A lot, probably hundreds. 

Theresa:  Wow, how exciting.  But those are just the people that applied.

Jessica:  Uh-huh.  There are about 4,000 that apply every year.

Theresa:  Good luck to you!

Jessica: (smiles) thanks.


(L)  Rosie Alvarez played by Jessica Reis and the cast of Bye Bye Birdie in the Travis High School 2009 theatre production.  Photo by Mark Towell.

 

Theresa:  What do your parents think of this opportunity?

Jessica:  Theyíre actually more excited about it than me.  My dad said he would sell the house if he had to, to pay for it.  He basically told me I couldnít give up this opportunity.  Heís willing to move up north with me and he hates up north.  He grew up, up there, it snows and he hates the cold.  But he will be willing to do it if it meant getting me into this place.

 

Theresa:  What about you Aaron, what are your plans for the future?

Aaron:  Next year Iím planning on going to the University of Texas in Austin and studying Mechanical Engineering.  Iíve gotten accepted.  Iíve pretty much nailed it in. 

Theresa:  Are you going to be staying at the dorm?

Aaron:  Yeah but I donít know which one yet.  I donít have a specific roommate either.  I think Iím just going to go pot luck. 

Theresa:  Pot Luck?

Aaron:  Yeah, whoever theyíre going to assign me with.  My brother Kyle is up there right now and he loves it.  And so Iím stoked to go there. 

 


Conrad Birdie  played by Richard Gomez and the cast of Bye Bye Birdie in the Travis High School 2009 theatre production.  Photo by Mark Towell.

 

Richard:  I went to a theater convention in Fort Worth a while back and I auditioned for a bunch of colleges and I got 11 call backs from a lot of good colleges like Oklahoma University, UT in Arlington, Ohio Northern University, Sam Houston State University and TCU.  A lot of people were interested in giving me scholarships to come to their school. 

I sang a song when I went to the convention and I competed in vocal solo.  I sang this song from Jekyll & Hyde.  And Iíve been invited to go sing and compete at Nationals in Nebraska, the National Thespian Convention.  This is not just a Texas convention itís throughout the nation, which is really cool.  Iíve never done anything like that before.  So thatíll be in the summer. 

So as far as my future, Iím not sure.  The year after I graduate, Iím going to a Christian Academy called the Honor Academy in Tyler, Texas for a year or 2 depending on what God leads me to do.  And then after, Iím still not sure.  Iím pretty dependent on hearing something in those 2 years about what God wants me to go into, but definitely either musical theater or as a youth pastor.  When you go there, youíre considered an intern.  You take biblical studies classes and do a lot of life strengthening classes.  They push you a lot.  And you also have a working environment.  They try to find out at what youíre good at. 

 


Aaron Hlavaty as  Albert Peterson  in the Travis High School 2009 theatre production of  BYE BYE BIRDIE.  Photo by Mark Towell.

 

Theresa:  And now for my last question.  I just want to get your take on a current political event that is of great historical ground-breaking proportions.  With the New Year we also have a new administration.  What do you think of Barack Obama as our new president? 

Jessica:  I didnít follow him when he was coming up and going through.  I didnít even vote for him.  Heís a great guy and heís really honest about what he says.  I think heíll do a great job.  Because heís honest enough to say that heís gonna mess up but heís gonna keep trying until he gets it right.  And I think thatís whatís most important is that heís not gonna stop trying.  He knows heís not perfect.  He knows that heís going to do his best not to make mistakes.  I think thatís what makes him special.  Thatís what makes him right for the job, that heís willing to just say that.

Aaron:  I think heíll do a great job.  This is the first election that I really paid attention to because in previous years, I didnít really care.  But itís fascinating to watch it.  I didnít get to vote so I wasnít really too concerned with which candidate I was more inclined to picking.  But it was just fascinating watching everything including the debates.  It was a close one, a lot closer than I was expecting.  But I think Obama is going to do a great job.

Richard:  I really donít pay attention to politics because I donít like politics.  I think theyíre so dirty and people go around hating on each other.  So I donít pay attention.  Iím still 17 so I canít vote.  I did some research for some government projects but not enough to know if I agree with McCain or Obama.  Basically, itís like Obamaís president, nobody can change that.  I donít hate him, I donít hate McCain.  I donít favor one over the other. 

Iím praying for him.  The bible talks about praying for your leaders and thatís exactly what Iím doing.  Iím praying for him because one, thatís a stressful job, two, a lot of people are going to be judging him because heís the first African-American president and expect a lot more out of him.  But I know that God will do what God wants and hopefully he will use Obama to get some of the good stuff throughout America.  So thatís how I feel.

 


Rosie Alvarez (Jessica Reis) is serenaded by the bartenders and the cop in the Travis High School 2009 theatre production of  BYE BYE BIRDIE.  Photo by Mark Towell.

 

 


The cast of Bye Bye Birdie in the Travis High School 2009 theatre production directed by Kyle Martin.  Photo by Mark Towell.

 


Albert Peterson (Aaron Hlavaty) and Conrad Birdie (Richard Gomez) disguised in a lady's dress at the Sweet  Apple railroad station in the Travis High School 2009 theatre production of Bye Bye Birdie directed by Kyle Martin.  Photo by Mark Towell.

 

 


RICHARD GOMEZ