The Show Must Go On: Bye Bye Birdie
To Open as Scheduled
By Stephen Twentyman and Rabita Aziz (February 18, 2004)
In spite of some of the most severe challenges in its history, the
drama department has resolved that the show must go on. Thus, in spite
of losing their faculty director, drama instructor Mr. Frank Marino, the
cast and crew of the upcoming musical Bye Bye Birdie have decided
to work through their difficulties and will take the stage as scheduled
Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30. The only change is that the
matinee scheduled for this Sunday has been canceled.
||Six days prior to the show, the students learned that
director Marino had been arraigned on six felony counts alleging sexual
assault on a minor. Having learned of this situation on Friday, the students
decided unanimously that their many weeks of hard work and rehearsals needed
to culminate in a show and vowed to stay the course.
Actors and crew members told this newspaper that spirits remained
high throughout this past weekend’s play practices and all cast members
say they are prepared and freshly motivated to take the stage in two more
days. Student director senior Anya Solovieva, cast in the role of the mayor’s
wife, has taken the reins as director in Marino’s stead.
Senior Greg Corbino, a longtime presence on GM’s stage and who has
a lead role as Albert Peterson in the show, said, "The whole situation
is heartbreaking, but we have to realize that Frank (Marino) wanted us
to put this show on and so the show must go on." That phrase was seemingly
on the tip of everybody’s tongue as actors, dancers, chorus and orchestra
members prepared for what had, just days ago, seemed to be rolling smoothly
ahead as one of the better shows Mason had ever produced.
Set designer and crew chief Mr. John Ballou said that the show was
"extremely strong" and that the students had earned the show during weeks
of intense rehearsals. "These kids have done a great job, the music is
strong and the vocals are terrific and this will be a great performance,"
|A diehard fan holds up a sign to
catch the attention
of rock star Conrad Birdie in preparation for this
weekend’s upcoming musical Bye Bye Birdie.
(Photo by Camille Christophel)
|Despite the pall initially cast over the
proceedings last Friday, a renewed sense of dedication and vigor showed
through the cast and crew and everybody involved applied themselves to
making the show that much better. "We are working very hard for the play.
We’re doing it for Frank, we want him to be proud. Over the weekend we
ran through it twice. We’re ready for Thursday, just put on a happy face,"
explained Camille Christophel, a dancer in the show.
The weekend was not without it own casualties, however. Senior Matt
Meyer, who played one of the leads in the title role of Conrad Birdie,
left the show for personal reasons and has been replaced by Gavin Argo.
Senior Elise Edwards, who plays the role of Alice, had this to offer,
"We have an amazing amount of talent, more than I have seen in a very long
time. The proof is in the vocals and the orchestra. The first time we ran
it with music, it was amazing."
Orchestra conductor Ms. Mary Jo Webster agrees: "I’m encouraged by
the way everyone is pulling together to do this show, from the student
director to the entire cast, to the musicians, to stage crew members, to
all the parents who came to help. I think this is going to be a great show."
|What’s the story, morning
glory? Well, a girl’s just
got to keep in touch! Holding their phones in one
the key musical numbers in the play Bye Bye Birdie
these Bobby-Soxers form part of an enormous phone
chain. (Photo by Camille Christophel)
Another project whose participants voted today to ensure that the
show goes on is the annual Charity Fashion sponsored by the senior class.
All of the proceeds from the show go to the Falls Church Winter Shelter.
Mr. Marino’s lively stage presence has always instilled the fashion show
with a special cachet and energy. Student planners of the show met today
with class sponsor Mr. Michael Hoover and insisted, as one of the show’s
coordinators senior Sabrina Patel said, "That canceling the show is not
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