Bye Bye Birdie in Pacifica

Pacifica Spindrift Players
1030 Crespi Drive
Pacifica, CA 94044
October 1 & 2@8 p.m.
October 3@ 2 p.m.

IF you want a real “cute attack” add some sparkle to your weekend and go see Spindrift Player’s adorable, energetic and delightful rendition of Michael Stewart’s and Charles Strouse’s musical BYE BYE BIRDIE. “It’s a silly little story about silly little people in a silly little town singing silly little songs with silly little dances,” said director George Mauro. “It’ll be a silly little hoot!”

And he is absolutely right. Twenty-eight enthusiastic, happy people appear on the Spindrift stage, sing and dance their hearts out and captivate the audience from the overture by the Birdie Fan Club with freshly scrubbed, innocent teen-agers roaring: Bye Bye Birdie. I'm gonna miss you so to an imitation Elvis Presley, Conrad Witty (played to writhing, gyrating perfection by Tom Madrigal) right down to the finale when Albert and Rosie decide to tie the knot after 6 long years and move to Pumpkin Falls, Iowa.

In any community production, the direction and pace give it the professional polish that makes it work for an audience, and George Mauro created his own special masterpiece with a willing, hardworking cast as his palette. There are touches in this play that are superb and unforgettable. I doubt if the Broadway production could have surpassed the charm of seeing the sweet and innocent Kim ( Barbara del Castello) in her fuzzy bunny slippers singing “How lovely to be a Woman” or the raw, down home humor of Mae Peterson (Debi Durst) reminding her nerdy son Albert to eat a hot lunch.

The set and the stage co-ordination in this production is nothing less than amazing, in itself a work of visual art. The synchronization of the props and scenery for each segment are choreographed into a fantastic dance done en masse and not one member of this immense cast misses a beat. The pace is everything in this production. There is not a second of dead air on that stage. One has to remind himself over and over again that these people rehearsed their parts after a long day of work or school. They are not professionals who have been trained in theater arts. They are members of our greater community who have donated their time and their creativity to give us a spectacular accomplishment. These are the people next door: the paper boy, the college student, the high school senior trudging home with his back pack of books…all of them have been transformed into real show people if only for the run of the musical they are performing for us. Shannon Maxham’s costumes are works of art and Henry Sellenthin’s set designs give this show the perfect oomph and visual excitement.

You will love every minute of this production: the music, the dancing, the singing and of course the children. This reviewer lost her heart to those children. I can still see Christina Won Pat’s sweet face and hear her lovely voice. I still smile when I think of Hugo (Garrett Hom) disappearing into a trash can with a banana peel on his head and Ursula (Emily Hoover) screaming with love when she sees her idol Conrad at the station. “This is my first production with Spindrift,” said Tom Madrigal. “And I had a ball.”

And so will anyone smart enough to get over to the Pacifica Spindrift Players Theater this weekend. The minute the lights go down, you will shed your troubles and lose yourself in the long ago world of 1958 when we all wore bobby sox and penny loafers; that magic time when little girls dressed up in frothy strapless gowns to dance to the music of the big bands and scream in ecstasy at the sight of crooners like Frank Sinatra, Perry Como and best of the best: Elvis Presley. Now how great is that?