Put On A Happy Face with MASC’s Production of Bye Bye Birdie

The Waterloo-based theatre had a packed house on opening night and they didn’t miss a beat. Monroe Actors’ Stage Company (commonly known as MASC) brings you back to the sock hop era to give you a lot of laughs, love, and (almost) kisses.

The show follows a struggling songwriter Albert Peterson (Jeff Clinebell), and his secretary/ steady Rose Alvarez ( Paige Hill) on their rollercoaster of a meant-to-be business trip. The Duo arrives in Sweet Apple, Ohio, along with war bound, teen rock n roll icon Conrad Birdie (Solomon Wilken). The objective of the business trip: to get Conrad’s last kiss before departure televised, with one lucky girl, Kim MacAfee (Isabella Garcia).

All of the acting on MASC’s stage was spectacular, to go alongside an amazing musical performance directed by Marcia Braswell. On stage, the cast hit awesome harmonies and displayed beautiful singing voices. Jeff Clinebell’s performance of “Put on a Happy Face” was undoubtedly one of the best solo songs I have seen in a 2017 STL theatre show, not to mention the dance break that had probably the loudest audience applause I have ever heard midway through a song. This isn’t to cut anything short of the amazing group numbers, especially the Andrews Sisters’ style chords that were nailed by the ladies, and the Belmont’s style brought on by the men. Backstage, Braswell was directing a pit orchestra who played the offstage lead. The pit was able to transition from style to style with ease, and the whole show was highlighted with a beautiful muted trumpet played by Ryan Brandt.

MASC didn’t fall anywhere short of having a stacked cast in terms of acting. each member of this full-scale cast put their all into recreating their characters on stage, and can almost make you forget it’s on a stage. From the stereotypical feel of a 1950s family in the MacAfee’s, to Peterson and Alvarez being the young adults finding their place in the world, to the rebellious, lady killer in Conrad Birdie, the Actors packed a punch in every role that walked on stage.

Throughout this show, I felt nothing short of Happy, and that is solely based on the stage performance. Every single character and chorus member kept the energy at its highest all night long, keeping a smile on their face, which transferred to the audiences. The happiness displayed by the cast, really stamped a feeling that cannot be described, only felt.

If you missed Opening night of this production, you still have 4 more chances to check out this amazing show. Tickets for September 9th are already sold out, but you still have time to call and reserve your spot for September 15th and 16th at 7:30, and September 10th and 17th at 2:30.

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