The Chillicothe Summer Theatre League is going back to its first show for this year’s production.



The summer theatre’s cast first hit the stage with “Bye Bye Birdie” in 1994 under the direction of Craig Miller.


The Chillicothe Summer Theatre League is going back to its first show for this year’s production.

The summer theatre’s cast first hit the stage with “Bye Bye Birdie” in 1994 under the direction of Craig Miller.

Many things have changed since then for community theater group, which offers both younger and older parts each summer.

This year features those from ages 9 to their 40s for the 7:30 p.m. productions Thursday through Saturday.

“At the time, we were sort of funded by the Optimist Club,” explained longtime member Lorelei Lawson and this year’s co-director with Ethan Hayward. Now the group funds itself.

While faces have changed on stage, some of the same theatre board members 17 years ago remain.

Lawson was stage manager then, and said technology has changed from those days.

With an updated Illinois Valley Central High School auditorium, both the sound and stage has changed for the better, she said, including eight body microphones for this musical.

“It’s just much easier to put on a play,” said Lawson.

The bright, colorful stage and costumes should bring back memories for residents living in the 1950s.

“This musical does not have a sad moment in it,” said Lawson. “It is all fun, all the time.”

Reminiscent of when Elvis Presley joining the U.S. Army, the plot centers around rock star Conrad Birdie, played by Alex Bryant.

His agent, Albert Peterson (Garrett Hurd) needs to make money before Birdie leaves the country for military duty. His girlfriend and secretary, Rosie Alvarez (Lindsey Pugh), makes Peterson promise to leave the business and teach English after a big publicity stunt.

Birdie will kiss Kim MacAfee (Audra Storm) live on the Ed Sullivan Show from Sweet Apple, Ohio.

There is a problem, though. She was pinned by Hugo Peabody (Andrew Macklin).

In the meantime, Peterson’s mother (Nell German) does not like Alvarez, so she introduces him to another woman.

“Needless to say, things happen and it doesn’t go off as planned,” said Lawson.

The cast also includes Rob Wolter as Harry MacAfee, Sally Adcock as Doris MacAfee, Griffin Wagner as Randolph MacAfee,
Madison Auge as Ursula Merkle, Connor Orton as Mayor, Diane Stanek as the Mayor’s wife, D.J. Gibler as Mrs. Merkle, Daniel Stanek as Charles F. Maude, Leah Brincks as Alice, Ryan Greskoviak as  Harvey Johnson and Delaney Lawson as Gloria Rasputin and Deborah Sue.

The quartet is made up of Zane Crockett, Kyle Kerr, Liam Price, Daniel Stanek. The teen chorus is comprised of Tyler Draper, Alicia Fisk, Austin Franz, Ria Greer, Alexis Hart, Brandon Hartman, Rhoni Keith, Elizabeth Landis, Alexis Schmidt, Megan Shane, Alexis Stutzman, Olivia White and Arieyll Wiedeman.

With a lot of one-liners, Lawson said residents will enjoy the references to the 1950s.

“We have worked hard getting period costume,” she said.

They are not the only ones who will dress differently.

“We are encouraging people to come with their saddle shoes on, roll up their jeans and bring their letter sweater,” said Lawson.

Some big hits of the time will be played before the show and homemade desserts will be offered at the concession stand during intermission.

“It’s a summer diversion,” said Lawson.