"It's fun to be Birdie," said Hannibal High School junior Michael Sydnor, who has the lead in the upcoming HHS Choral Department musical, "Bye Bye Birdie."
Sydnor added that 1950s rock star Conrad Birdie is his "alter ego. ... I can say and do things I normally can't, through his character."
Giving an example, Sydnor explained, "Birdie is more reserved and stuck up."
Birdie is his first major leading role since he has been performing at Hannibal High. Among the songs Birdie sings in this musical production, Sydnor chose "Lot of Livin' to Do" as his favorite.
In his role as Birdie, he said, "I had to step out of the box. They told me not to be myself, to turn into someone more egotistical."
Although he is a HHS junior, Sydnor is planning to graduate with the current senior class. After high school he plans to attend Southeast Missouri State at Cape Girardeau, where he will major in business administration and minor in dance.
"Bye Bye Birdie" will be performed at 7 p.m. on Nov. 8, 9 and 10 at the Hannibal High School auditorium. Tickets are $8.
The musical is the story of Albert (Taylor Frantz) and Rosie (Hannah Adkison), songwriters and managers of Birdie. With Birdie going into the U.S. Army, they see their main income drying up so they make a plan that includes a hit song and a teen-ager who will receive Birdie's "One Last Kiss" on national television before he goes into the Army.
Additional songs in the musical include "Put On a Happy Face," and "Telephone Hour."
HHS senior Kiley Harold portrays Kim MacAfee, the fan whose name is drawn to receive a kiss from Birdie before he leaves to serve in the Army. The MacAfee family lives in Sweetwater, Ohio, so Birdie must travel there to give her a kiss.
Harold also has solos in the musical. She named "How Lovely To Be a Woman" her favorite solo.
During the play, Harold said, as Birdie's fan, Kim is excited to be receiving his kiss. But Birdie "is not that happy to have to do it," she said, "Having to go to a new town and kiss a girl and leave. He thinks it's pretty bad publicity.
As she portrays Kim, Harold said, "he's trying to push me away, and I'm trying to get closer."
She is enjoying her part, Harold added. "I love it. I get to act and be somebody I can't be every day."
To be Kim, she said, "I just had to be more of a leader and confident."
Sharing her future plans, Harold said she hopes to attend Mizzou and study broadcast journalism.
Additional cast members are Chris Ruhr, Jordan Schafer, Briar Douglas, Kurtis Lipp, Duane Jones, Taylor Sharkey, Mark Ruhr, Markell Strickland, Mikel Crump, Cortez Emerson, Evan White, Sarah Bean, Clair Eaton, Ellie Allen, Heather Frantz, Erin Sublette, Trennity Roland, Ashley Cummins, Kailea Griffen, Richy Rodgers, Mikayla Murphy, Julie Colborn, Paige Cummins, Candice Howe, Morgan Downing, Anea Elder and Elizabeth Gilbert.
Page 2 of 2 - Additional dancers and singers are Jill Bowen, Taylor Bramblett, Clair Doyle, Chelisa Deere, Kylie Dickerson, Chris Kotlin, Mackenzie Lane, Marissa Todd, Dakota Weise, Shelby McAfee, Pariesha Scott, Jonathan Borgmeyer, Nathan Hammock and Sean Hellems.
Sara Kurz is the play director, and Jenny Benson is choreographer.