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.
About 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.