Cast and crew have prepared since mid-November for Tony Award-winning play 'Bye Bye Birdie'

Camille Doty

Jan. 26, 2012 at 5:05 p.m.
Updated Jan. 26, 2012 at 7:27 p.m.

Kate Klimist gets an adrenaline rush right before show time. She loves the theater.

"When the curtain comes up, there's nothing better," she said.

The 16-year-old Victoria West High School sophomore nabbed a leading role as Rosie in the school's production of "Bye Bye Birdie." Crossroads residents will have the opportunity to see the production Friday and Saturday evening in the school's auditorium.

Kate's over-the-top character is a sophisticated woman, who's in love with an immature man named Albert.

The Tony Award-winning play is a 1950s spoof dealing with rock and roll, love, and the music sensation Conrad Birdie. The fictional character bears a striking resemblance to Elvis Presley.

Budding thespians watched various renditions of the play, studied that musical era, and designed their own costumes. Some stretched their imaginations to get into character.

Brandon Foster wears a lightning gold jacket in some of the scenes to portray the heartthrob Birdie.

"I don't think I would be caught dead in this anytime," said the 16-year-old sophomore jokingly.

The 50-plus member cast and crew ensemble practiced eight to 10 hours during the week, plus long Saturday hours since mid-November.

"They've put everything they have into this," said Shannon Sadler, the school's theatre director.

Sadler also said the students love for the arts spurred them to take the risks.

Sharod Garcia is all business when in character.

"We're here to work and not play around," he said.

The 16-year-old junior realized acting was his passion as a sixth grader at Patti Welder Middle School.

"You can be your own person on or off stage," he said.

Sharod portrays Albert Peterson, a passive songwriter who's easily controlled by Rosie, his love interest.

Mallorie Gabbert drew inspiration from her own life. The 17-year-old senior plays Kim, the president of the Conrad Birdie fan club.

The star-crazed character has to mature and deal with her boyfriend's insecurities.

Mallorie said that she will have to grow up when she goes to college.

In the meantime, the aspiring music major will enjoy the company of her friends in theater.

"It's the only place where a football player and a choir nerd come together," Mallorie said. "We're like family."

Kate Klimist bounces from the volleyball court to center stage. Her experience with Theatre Victoria has helped her to lead fellow classmates.

The honor student said she admires everyone's courage to speak in front of peers and strangers.

"It takes a lot to do this," she said.

Kate said the community should support the school's effort because everyone involved has worked so hard. It will also be a pleasure.

"It's going to be fun to see," she said.



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