Friday, July 29, 2016
Bye Bye Birdie
In 2014 I wrote a post on Bring Back Birdie, the dreadful sequel to Bye Bye Birdie. The sequel had the same writers, star and structure but lightning didn't strike twice.
As I attempted to summarize Bye Bye Birdie I was reminded of what a bizarre show it truly is. The libretto juggles 5 principal characters, 2 key supporting roles, 2 romances and the teens vs. parents conflict. The hip rock star, Conrad Birdie, gets the title but the old-fashioned heart of the story is carried by Rosie and her desire to settle down with Albert.
If Dick Van Dyke wasn't playing him Albert would be a very unpleasant character. That's one reason revivals keep flopping. It was made clear in the sequel when he dumps Rosie for a "newer model." It's better to ignore the sequel and let their story end with Bye Bye Birdie's charming finale.