Say Hello to Bye Bye Birdie

This fall, Walker’s drama department is performing Bye Bye Birdie, a musical based on the book by Michael Stewart which had its Broadway debut in the early 1960s. The story line is about a famous rock star who gets drafted, resulting in national heartbreak among his fans. The production will open on November 8th, and run each night until November 11th. Bye Bye Birdie will star Dylan Alfi as Conrad Birdie, Sean Nesmith as Albert F. Peterson, Zoey Brown as Rosie DeLeon, and Christian Brady as Kim McAfee.

After taking a break from acting last year, senior Sean Nesmith is making his comeback as the ignorant Albert F. Peterson. Nesmith, who played the unforgettable role of Uncle Fester in the 2015 production of The Addams Family, said that his break from acting helped him realize that his “heart lies in connecting with the audience through emotions and singing.” Nesmith would like the audience to know that “Albert has a heart! His relationship with Conrad and Almaelou gives him a sense of tunnel vision to the world around him, especially pertaining to Rosie. However, as the musical progress, the audience will begin to see a shift on his outlook on life”. Nesmith considers himself to be a “performer at heart”, and Bye Bye Birdie will be his eighth production at Walker. As for the future, Nesmith has plans to major in International Politics, but says that “you can count on me sitting front row at every production my future college offers.”


Christian Brady (9) and Katrina Horowitz (12) wearing curlers to prepare for the show.

An unexpected cast member of the show is fourth grader, Hank Etzler. Etzler played the role of Baloo in Mrs. Arjona’s summer production of The Jungle Book, and was later asked to play the role of Randolph MacAfee in the Upper School’s fall musical. His character is the son of Harry MacAfee, portrayed by junior Carter Ezell, and says that his character “pretty much does everything that Carter does because I think I’m an adult. It’s just very interesting to see what I have to do.” Although he felt intimidated at first, Etzler says that he now feels comfortable and enjoys being with his fellow cast members. Etzler’s favorite song in the play is Kids Reprise, and his favorite line is when junior, Dylan Alfi’s, character says “Hey Fats” to Carter Ezell. When he grows up, Etzler hopes to be an actor.

Between costume crew and the pit, being behind the scenes is just as wild as being on-stage. Stage manager, junior Christine Adkins, is responsible for a lot of the backstage aspects of the show including keeping everything organized, and making sure everything happens when it is supposed to. When asked why she chose to be stage manager, Adkins replied, “I didn’t really choose the position, the position chose me. I was offered this job over a regular crew one and I’m very happy to be working alongside all the talented coordinators of the show as well as my friends.”


Audrey Kaye (11) getting ready for her performance.


Make sure to grab your tickets for Bye Bye Birdie!