Bye Bye Birdie performed by Academy at the Lakes

Elvis made a surprise appearance at the Wesley Chapel Performing Arts Center last week during the special “Academy Bandstand,” the opening performance of Bye Bye Birdie. Though it was student Joshua Bain in costume, he was a big hit with audiences on Friday and Saturday nights. The cast, crew and orchestra included more than 250 Academy students from the Lower, Middle, and Upper Divisions, as well as faculty and administrators. Alex Burnham ’14 and Bree Scott ’13 led the cast as Albert Peterson, a washed-up music executive, and Rose Alvarez, his faithful secretary. Cody Diaz ’13 was Conrad Birdie, the Elvis-type singer who made crowds swoon with his songs. Chloe Mansell ’14 and Dillain Villavisanis ’14 played teenage sweethearts caught in the middle of the Conrad Birdie hysteria. Kristina Stark ’13 stole the show as Mrs. Peterson, the overbearing mother figure who did not approve of Albert and Rose’s relationship. In just two action-packed months, all the pieces came together: scripts, songs, dances, stage props, costumes, lighting cues, and screams…yes, lots of joyful “Elvis-inspired” screams! In true Academy style, the students and faculty used team collaboration, communication, and creativity to bring the lighthearted 1950s back to life. (And let’s not forget the enormous contributions of our many parent volunteers – thank you!) Their hard work was rewarded with packed houses at each performance. And after the 22 seniors involved in the production took their final bows Saturday night, Elvis once again left the building. by Academy at the Lakes.
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