Hello, Bye Bye Birdie!

Alumni from the 90s relived some of their best college memories Sunday when they attended a special performance of the Abbey Players spring musical, “Bye Bye Birdie.” The matinee performance honored alumni who were in the cast of the show when it was last performed by the Abbey Players, in 1995.

Members of the 1995 'Birdie' castAbout two dozen former Players were in the audience, as were friends who worked on sets, costumes, and other aspects of the musical. After the show, they gathered in the College Pub to reminisce about their thespian days and renew old acquaintances.

Among the returning Players was Heather (McEwan) Mandosa ’98, who played the mayor’s wife. Her role became a long term engagement when she married Frank Mandosa’96, the actor who played the mayor.

Also in attendance were 1995 cast members Michael Buckley ’97, Michael Burglund, Sheila Moreau ’95, Tara (Murgo) Payne ’95, and Laura (Burglund) Pawlyk ’96, as well as 1995 choreographer Sarah (Frazier) Pompeo ’96. The only lead actor missing was Brendan O’Brien ’95 (who played the Presley-esque rock and roll star Conrad Birdie), now a U.S. Department of State official in Washington, D.C.

Carey (Winslow) Cahoon ’98, a 1995 cast member, was the 2013 show’s director. She has directed the past 11 Abbey Players spring musicals. At least one member of the 1995 “Children’s Ensemble,” Charles Perreault ’04, also enjoyed the matinee.

The number of hugs passed around in the Dana Center lobby that afternoon was testament to the strong relationships formed on the Abbey Players stage. Professor Landis Magnuson, who produced the show both years, was a happy man.

Like all the spring musicals, Bye Bye Birdie features a big cast, plenty of singing and dancing, and catchy tunes—in this case songs including “Put on a Happy Face” and “A Lot of Livin’ to Do.”

Some of the talented actors, singers and dancers in the current cast were nostalgic about appearing in their final production. But, after 64 seasons, the future is as bright as ever for the Abbey Players, judging from the performances of several freshmen, including leads Meredythe Leonard (Kim MacAfee) and Jim Brennan (Conrad Birdie).

Story by Laurie Morrissey. Photos by Matthew Lomanno and Dao Le '15.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rachel.walshmattson Rachel Walsh-Mattson

    Very nice, I only have one complaint with this article. This sentence "About two dozen former Players were in the audience, as were friends who worked on sets, costumes, and other aspects of the musical." makes it sound as if those who worked on sets, costumes, etc. were not "Players". As the costumer for that show and a member of the Abbey Players Board of Directors for 2 years I resent that implication. We were all "Players" whether we walked the stage, helped backstage, or just helped gather materials and hang up posters. Please in future keep this in mind.

    • Martha

      Very True! I was the director of Props this year and was on the tech crew during the production. I feel the same way. I am an Abbey Player 100% of the time, whether in the show or behind the scenes.