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Franklin High has been doing well with musical comedy; student actors are at it again

DAVID F. ASHTON - Rehearsing for the Franklin High production of Bye Bye Birdie, opening in early March, senior Jonas Boone towers over his adoring fans as he portrays rock-and-roll star Conrad Birdie. Stage productions mounted by the Franklin High School (FHS) Theater Department have excelled in the past, and continue to do so, in part, through the inspiration provided by the school's modern, new 500-seat theater.

When word got out about last year's winter musical, "Anything Goes", the cast was playing to sold-house houses – and this year's production of "Bye Bye Birdie" will likely do the same, when it opens on March 6.

"We chose this show because it's lively, lighthearted, and has lots of opportunities for parts – as well as several sparkling stage-filling numbers," remarked the show's director – who is also the FHS Theatre Department Director – Joshua Forsyth.

The cast, featuring 65 players and 40 people on the tech crew – all of whom are FHS students – presents this musical that focuses on hip-gyrating rock-and-roll star Conrad Birdie, who is being drafted into the Army.

"Hijinks ensue when Birdie's management, Albert and Rosie, concoct a plan to capitalize on the fact that their main star is now going into the military service – a story inspired by the media circus surrounding Elvis Presley being drafted into the Army in September, 1957," Forsythe told THE BEE. Presley served from March of 1958 until March of 1960.

The 20-member FHS Orchestra will provide the music for the show, said the school's Band and Orchestra Director, Jason Owens. "The music is a cool mixture of '50s rock 'n roll, with some jazz. There's a lot of lively, upbeat music, with the occasional romantic ballad to tempers the tempo of the show," said Owens.

"Bye Bye Birdie" opens March 8 at 7 p.m.; and evening performances continue on March 9, 14, 15 and 16. There's also a Family Matinee on March 10 at 2:00 p.m.

Tickets are $12 for adults, $6 for students/seniors. Tickets may be available at the door, but many shows are expected to sell out early. Buy tickets securely online – www.schoolpay.com/parent/mip/McQe

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