News From Terre Haute, Indiana


November 29, 2012

Terre Haute North students present ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ tonight

TERRE HAUTE — Winning a kiss from a major pop star is the dream for any teenage girl. That dream will come true tonight through Saturday in the Terre Haute North High School Music Department’s musical “Bye Bye Birdie.” The production features close to 70 students in the cast, orchestra and technical crew. These talents have combined to create a rockin’ show that will leave the audience dancing well after the final curtain.

Opening night is tonight at 7 p.m. in the school’s auditorium, with other performances at 7 p.m. Friday, and at 3 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $8. Tickets can be pre-purchased by contacting Director Michelle Azar at Terre Haute North at 812-462-4312. Tickets will also be available at the auditorium box office starting 45 minutes before each performance.

The school is at 3434 Maple Ave.

“Bye Bye Birdie” tells the story of Albert Peterson (junior Isaac White), the agent and songwriter for teen music star Conrad Birdie (sophomore John Sponsler). Birdie is inspired by the phenomenon of popular singer Elvis Presley. He is drafted to serve in the U.S. Army in 1957, adding stress to Albert’s job.

“I have always loved Elvis and that style of music. Playing a character inspired by this music icon is very powerful. I’m having fun with it,”  Sponsler said.

Other features of the story are a budding love romance between Albert and his sweetheart secretary, Rosie Alvarez (junior Makenzie Smokstad). “I love this musical because the music is so exciting. I definitely love rock ’n‘ roll music. I’m looking forward to opening night to hear the crowd’s reaction to our show,” Smokstad said.

Rosie hatches a plan to have Conrad record and debut a song before he is sent overseas. She makes Albert promise to give up on his music business to become a school English teacher, his true passion. They plan to have Birdie sing Albert’s new song “One Last Kiss” and give one lucky teenager a real last kiss on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”

This lucky girl is Kim MacAfee (senior Emily Ferrell) from Sweet Apple, Ohio. “I love the comedy and music in this show. This is my last musical at North, and I am so glad I get to spend it with people who love music as much I do,” Ferrell said.

Conrad becomes a guest in the MacAfee house, causing irritation for Kim’s father, Harry MacAfee (junior Josh Tucker). Emotional struggles evolve between Albert and Rosie when his mother, Mae Peterson (senior Rachel Rodgers), tries to break up their budding relationship.

“I chose this musical because it fit the cast’s talents so well. They are very hard-working and have had fun with this show. I can’t wait for opening night,” Azar said. She has been assisted by Cathy Sponsler.

Other key roles include Allison Sherrill as Doris MacAfee; Lucas Davis as Randolph MacAfee; Will Rupert as Hugo Peabody; Emma Sappington as Ursula; Lucy Utterback as Helen; Emily New as Nancy; Carly New as Alice; Gracie Rhodes as Margie; Meredith Egan as Penelope; Matt Jenkins as Harvey Johnson; Taryn Ashley as Gloria Rasputin; Jared Wells as Mayor of Sweet Apple; Sierra Sawtelle as Mayor’s Wife; Lane Sullivan as Reporter; AJ Contramaestre as Maude, and Jillian Turner, Ella Tanoos, Hunter and Grant Morrison as the Kids.

Members of the Sweet Apple Teenagers include Alexa Baeiszadeh, Andrew Colbert, AJ Contramaestre, Stephen Cornwell, Hope Deckard, Adaire Ervin, Justine Gibson, Madison Morrison, Adam Neese, Allison Payonk, Allison Quick, Allissa Quick, Hannah Smith, Caitlin Spier, Austin Utter and Matt Vaughn.

The Sweet Apple Adults feature Kaylee Ettleson, Catie Grady, Becky Hunter, Morgan Schloegel, Marissa Tipton and Taylor Zoleske.

The backstage crew supporting this show includes Jacob Cannon, Gabby Comelleri, Brittany Duffer, Susie Edington, Samantha Ginoplos, Rebekah Hamersley, Tyler Henning, Shania Hood, Kenna Jenkins, Nathan Lewis-Cole, Kasy Long, Alisha Ludwig, Vance Martinez, Eric Roberts, Abigail Sherrill, Austin Theisz, Anna Tilstra-Smith, Elizabeth Trausch, Lani Troxel and Krislyn Williams. The dance choreographer is Austin Seeley, while Jacob Wooden is the vocal coach and Erin Caldwell is the set designer.

Members of the pit orchestra are Marena Bennett, Celia Colter, Cavin Edwards, Josh Fulk, Arlington Hayne, Nikole Higgins, Cindy Jiang, Drue Lemont, Kasy Long, Andrew Mathies, Zach McCloud, Topper Nail, Dylan Newkirk, Douglas Rourke, Tim Smith, Hannah Thomas, Jacob Wheatley and Andy Williams. Mark Carlisle is directing the orchestra, with Kurt Perry being the accompanist and David Gibbs playing the synthesizer.

For more information about the show, persons can contact Azar at Terre Haute North at 812-462-4312 or

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