Last week, as part of the official Birdie contest, The Search For Birdie's Biggest Fan, we asked participants to submit essays about why they love Bye Bye Birdie. We received so many wonderful stories! Here are just a few:
Here's one from "OldBirdie":
When the movie version of Bye Bye Birdie came out, I identified so strongly with Kim MacAfee. I was thrilled when Ann-Margret sang, “How Lovely to be a Woman.” The lyrics struck an immediate chord inside me:
When you're a skinny child of fourteen/Wide with braces from ear to ear,
You doubt that you will ever be appealing…
…How lovely to be a woman, and change from boys to men,
To go to a fancy nightclub, and stay out after ten.
How lovely to be so grown-up and free!
Life's lovely when you're a woman like me!
Then there is “One Boy:”
One boy, one steady boy
One boy to be with, forever and ever
That's the way it should be.
Oh, I SO wanted to meet that one boy someday! And eventually, I did. Then, when my daughter was growing up, I sang these same songs to her.
Others may have more memorable memories of Bye Bye Birdie than mine. But all I know is, whenever I hear these songs, they make me feel like I’m fourteen again – with all the youthful hope and anticipation of wonderful things ahead.
This one is from Leah, age 16:
I’m only 16 years old, I never got to experience the innocence of the 1950’s. Growing up in today’s world, where I communicate with friends more with texting, email, and twitter than anything else, Bye Bye Birdie is like a reminder of a much more genuine time, when kids my age would get totally worked up over “getting pinned”. With the arrival of shows like 90210 and Gossip Girl, it takes a lot more drama to please teenagers nowadays than it did then. I love the simplicity of the lyrics and the story. Take for example the line “It won’t last/Not at all/He’s too thin/She’s too tall” as opposed to what it might be if written today: “It won’t last/Not at all/He slept with her sister/She’s on drugs”. Yeah…
I’ve always felt a strong connection to the 50’s and 60’s; the Dick Van Dyke show is my favorite TV show, Stevie Wonder and the Beatles are my favorite musicians, and Bye Bye Birdie is one of my absolute favorite musicals. All of these things invoke a sense of pure, childlike delight when I experience them. A happiness that has nothing to do with drama, technology, or any kind of ironic, sarcastic humor that so fills today’s world. Bye Bye Birdie is so utterly magical to me for so many reasons, some of which I can’t totally express. I really hope I do get the opportunity to see it on broadway and be able to experience its spirit of fun and innocence first hand. But regardless of whether I get to see it or not, I know that Bye Bye Birdie and I are going steady, steady for good.
More posts coming soon!
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2009-2010 Season, Bye Bye Birdie