Bye Bye Birdie is a Broadway musical satire on American society written by Michael Stewart (book), Lee Adams (lyrics), and Charles Strouse (music). It was first performed in New York City's Al Hirschfeld Theatre on April 14, 1960, directed by Gower Champion.
The fictional story takes place in 1958, centering around Conrad Birdie, a hip-thrusting rock and roll superstar akin to Elvis Presley, Conrad's agent and songwriter, Albert Peterson, and Albert's secretary and love, Rose Alvarez (Rose Grant or Rose DeLeon in some versions), who hails from Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Albert finds himself in trouble when Conrad is drafted into the army, so he and Rose come up with a last-ditch publicity stunt to premier one last hit Conrad Birdie record before he is sent to the army. They plan to have Conrad sing Peterson's new song "One Last Kiss" on live television, and give one lucky girl from his fan club a real 'one last kiss' on 'The Ed Sullivan Show' before going off to war.
The lucky girl is chosen randomly from Conrad's national fan club, and it happens to be Kim MacAfee. Rose, Conrad, and Albert set off to her house in Sweet Apple, Ohio to prepare for the event. However, things don't go quite as planned; Kim's father becomes obsessed with the prospect of being on The Ed Sullivan Show alongside his daughter, Kim's boyfriend becomes disastrously jealous of Conrad, and Conrad himself becomes tired of the show business life and tries to teach the kids how to party - ultimately getting himself in trouble with the law.
Bye Bye Birdie was first adapted to film in 1963. It starred Dick Van Dyke as Albert Peterson, Maureen Stapleton as Mama Mae Petersen, Janet Leigh as Rose Alvarez, Paul Lynde as Mr. MacAfee, and Ann-Margret as Kim MacAfee. The role of teen idol, Conrad Birdie was played by Jesse Pearson. Ed Sullivan makes a substantial guest appearance. The flow of the story differs from the musical. The film is credited with making Ann-Margret a superstar during the mid-1960s, leading to her appearing with the real Elvis Presley in Viva Las Vegas. Despite the show's box office success upon release, some critics claim it made average use of the talents of Dick Van Dyke and Janet Leigh. Some praise the movie as a classic example of '60s camp, others claim average production values, rewriting of the script, changes in the musical score, and average choreography in some songs left what some called a different story but with the same title. Van Dyke does a superb job in the feature duet song with Janet Leigh, "Put On A Happy Face". Neither Van Dyke nor Lynde cared much for the changes in the movie, as both had starred in the Broadway play. Van Dyke reportedly asked friends not to see it. For full cast and crew see: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056891/fullcredits
A new adaptation for television was made in 1995. It starred Jason Alexander of Seinfeld fame in the role of Albert Peterson and former Miss America Vanessa Williams as Rose Alvarez. Actress Tyne Daly, who played Amy's mother in Judging Amy, played the extravagant and over-bearing mother of Albert, Mae Peterson. Veteran Broadway actor Marc Kudisch who played Conrad Birdie on tour opposite Tommy Tune reprised the role. Eighties pop sensation Chynna Phillips played Kim MacAfee, and George Wendt played her father, Harry MacAfee. While this version remained mostly true to the original play, several songs were added.
Bye Bye Birdie features several notable songs.