Nakenna Kotlarov, Adele Hagevig, Capri Potter and Amanda McDowell rehearse for “Bye Bye Birdie” Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019. Corralling chords was a must while dancing. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Nakenna Kotlarov, Adele Hagevig, Capri Potter and Amanda McDowell rehearse for “Bye Bye Birdie” Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019. Corralling chords was a must while dancing. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

This oldie is JDHS’ newest show

Say hello to ‘Bye Bye Birdie’

Juneau-Douglas High School Yadaa.at Kalé’s latest musical is a throwback.

In February, “Bye Bye Birdie,” a musical from 1960 set in the late ’50s, will take the stage in the JDHS auditorium.

“It is a blast from the past,” said senior Adele Hagevig, who plays Margie, the Mayor’s Wife and Gloria Rasputin in the show. “But it’s still fun to see, and the music is timeless.”

Hagevig has a lifelong love for “Bye Bye Birdie.”

“I’ve listened to the music ever since I was a child,” she said.

It even runs in the family.

Hagevig said when her mother was a student at JDHS, she too acted in a production of “Bye Bye Birdie.”

“We actually played the same part,” Hagevig said.

[Pilot production of “Matilda” readies for takeoff]

She’s not the only longtime “Birdie” head in the cast.

Sophomore Clara Smith, who plays Rose Alvarez in the musical, has also been a fan since childhood.

“I love ‘Bye Bye Birdie,’” Smith said. “We’re doing it justice. We’re having fun. I love all the music and dancing that we get to do.”

Even students with limited previous exposure to “Bye Bye Birdie” have been won over.

“Musicals are always a whole lot of fun.” “said senior Dakota Morgan, who plays Albert Peterson. “When we all come together for one of the big numbers, it’s just remarkable.”

Looking on the bright side

High hopes for fun were exactly why the musical was selected.

“For our musical this year, I really wanted the JDHS students to have a lot of fun,” said Michaela Moore, English and theater teacher and the show’s director. “Life is crazy and hard, and I wanted us all to laugh a lot and celebrate what is fun about life. And ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ was just the ticket.”

The musical takes inspiration from Elvis Presley’s stint in the Army and tells the story of a rock star that is conscripted and subsequently visits a tiny town.

Senior Quinn Gentilli, who plays title character Conrad Birdie, is aware of the background, and it’s informed his performance.

“I’m kind of basing it on Elvis,” Gentili said. “That’s what I’m trying mostly.”

[Have you ever seen three people play one piano?]

“Bye Bye Birdie” opens Feb. 8 with a 7 p.m. show, and its run includes 7 p.m. shows on Feb. 15 and 16. There is also a 2 p.m. Feb. 9 show. Tickets can be purchased online at JAHC.org or at Hearthside Books and cost $20 for general admission, $15 for senior citizens and $10 for students.

“The JDHS students have really been so energetic and full of high energy in helping to put this musical together,” Moore said.

Background work

A colorful set and costumes designed by Moore also give the show vibrant, throwback energy.

“I also wanted to highlight the characters and make them stand out like the full-color version of comics that you see in the Sunday paper,” Moore said. “Because of this, the beautiful and colorful costumes are the highlight of the set design. The set is actually more representational and reminiscent of a ’50s or ‘60’s music/variety television show instead of a realistic set with furniture.”

Setting up “Bye Bye Birdie” was not a one-woman show.

[Juneau artists share favorite live shows and more from 2018]

Moore highlighted the efforts of Kate Bergey and Sidney Thomas, two of the students who created signs and a number of other props for the show, as well as Aria Moore, a para-educator and stage manager.

Bergey said a lot of her work was combing through the theater department’s prop collection and finding era-appropriate flourishes for the set, but she also made some new pieces.

Additionally, Bergey plays Mrs. Mae Patterson in the show and said she had a lot of fun working with Hagevig to piece together their characters’ unwritten history.

“It’s really fun to build background with characters that’s not written,” Bergey said.

Juneau School District’s auditorium manager Bo Anderson pitched in and built the set, and volunteer parent Angela Smith helped with costume alterations.

Plus, Moore said hard-working and creative students Kayla Kohlase, Bergey, Smith and Hagevig did excellent work with “Bye Bye Birdie’s” choreography.

Kohlase, a junior, said it was her first time choreographing, but she has background with dance, including about eight years of ballet.

“I had a little bit of experience,” Kohlase said.

She said it was a fun and rewarding, and so is “Bye Bye Birdie.”

“It’s a very spirit-lifting show,” Kohlase said. “It will make you smile.”

• Contact arts and culture reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter @BenHohenstatt.

Know & Go

What: “Bye Bye Birdie”

Where: Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé Auditorium

When: 7 p.m. Feb. 8, 15 and 16, and 2 p.m. Feb. 9

Admission: Tickets can be purchased online at JAHC.org or at Hearthside Books and cost $20 for general admission, $15 for senior citizens and $10 for students. They will also be available at the door.


• Contact arts and culture reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter @BenHohenstatt.


Dakota Morgan and Clara Smith rehearse for “Bye Bye Birdie” Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019. The show opens Feb. 8. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Dakota Morgan and Clara Smith rehearse for “Bye Bye Birdie” Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019. The show opens Feb. 8. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

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