‘Bye Bye Birdie’ coming to Centerstage Theatre

Production takes place in 1960s rural Ohio, featuring a fan club and the hottest rock star in the country.

In the 1960s, Conrad Birdie is one of the biggest stars in the country, until he gets drafted into the war.

So before he ships off, his manager wants one more song from him, a high-note to end his career on.

His last song? A love song, sung to one of his biggest fans, followed by a kiss from Birdie himself.

No, this isn’t the plot of a new movie coming out this year. It’s “Bye Bye Birdie,” the latest play from Federal Way’s own Centerstage, starting on May 31 and ending June 16.

Trista Duval, the creative director for Centerstage, is excited to show the community their latest production.

Not only is this a fun, upbeat play, Trista said, but for this production Centerstage took on 11 high school interns, some who work behind the scenes and some who act in it.

One such high-schooler, Jocelyn Robison from Rogers High in Puyallup, wants to keep acting after she graduates and is excited for the opportunity Centerstage has given her. Robison will be playing Alice, a member of Conrad Birdie’s fan club, though not the girl Conrad will be kissing for his last song.

“I’ve got a really good appreciation for community theater,” she said. “It’s so nice to see Centerstage being so diverse, and everybody there is so supportive of each other.”

Duval said with the high school interns Centertage has for this performance, it allows some of the more experienced actors to act as mentors for the students.

“We have a mix of people for whom arts is all they do,” Duval said, which allows them to talk with the interns about what it takes to make a career as an actor and steps they can take to achieve their goals.

Another one of the interns, Todd Beamer High School student Ricky Leung, said he stumbled into working with Centerstage.

“It all started when me and my friend were kind of bored,” he said.

They saw on Facebook that Centerstage had a performance that day of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.”

So they went, and ended up talking with Duvall who encouraged them to both audition. Leung is part of the teen ensemble for the play.

“I liked acting,” he laughed. “When I got the chance to audition for [Centerstage], me and my friend were just freaking out …”

New friendships are definitely a high point for Leung.

“I really enjoyed the new people I got to meet… and I got to experience how an actual play works, how people get ready for that,” he said. “Since I’ve only gotten ready for middle school plays or the little movies I directed during high school, this one is like a whole other level.”

More information about the play as well as show times and tickets can be found at www.centerstagetheatre.com.