Krysta Rodriguez Has Now Done Bye Bye Birdie Three Times, Including With Her Dad in High School | Playbill

Video Krysta Rodriguez Has Now Done Bye Bye Birdie Three Times, Including With Her Dad in High School

Rodriguez, Christian Borle, and Ephraim Sykes star in the new production at the Kennedy Center

A new production of Bye Bye Birdie began performances at Washington, D.C.'s Kennedy Center June 7, and the company is treating audiences to Sweet Apple, Ohio's rock 'n' roll melodies through June 15. Hear from the cast in the video above.

The production stars Christian Borle as Albert Peterson, Krysta Rodriguez as Rosie Avarez, Ephraim Sykes as Conrad Birdie, Caroline Aaron as Mae Peterson, Ashlyn Maddox as Kim MacAfee, Richard Kind as Harry MacAfee, and Jennifer Laura Thompson as Doris MacAfee.

The 1960 musical—featuring music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Lee Adams, and a book by Michael Stewart—centers on music executive Albert Peterson, his sweetheart and secretary Rosie Alvarez, and Elvis stand-in Conrad Birdie as the latter descends upon Sweet Apple, Ohio, for "One Last Kiss" before answering a draft notice and joining the army.

For many of the production's cast members, Bye Bye Birdie is a familiar classic, whether they were in the show in the past or simply listening to the beloved Strouse and Adams score. 

"I have an extensive history with the show," Rodriguez says. "I did it when I was in high school where I played Rosie, and then my first professional job in New York City was doing it at Encores!, I was in the ensemble. Now here we are an amount of time later, and I get to be Rosie friends from when I did it in high school are coming, my parents are coming—my dad played Maude, the bartender, when we did it." 

Adds Borle: "I've actually never seen the show, but I had the LP when I was in high school. So when I was a nerdy kid drawing and listening to musicals, it was in the mix."

WATCH: Christian Borle, Krysta Rodriguez, Ephraim Sykes Perform Songs from Bye Bye Birdie

For Sykes, tackling his role in the musical was more unexpected. With Conrad Birdie being based on rock 'n' roll idol Elvis, the role has historically been played by white men in most major productions, but Sykes has delved into the history of the genre to develop his Conrad. 

"I'm trying to find my inner rockstar right now. But also, I never would have thought I would have gotten to play Conrad, because I've never seen a Black one before," the actor says. "So, it was kind of cool knowing this guy is based around Elvis...especially the conversations we're having together right now, concerning where certain types of music comes from, where Elvis got his stuff from. I'm getting to kind of pay homage to the Roy Hamiltons, the Little Richards, for me, like a Jackie Wilson...he was that guy for my people."

The company also includes Jackera Davis as Ursula Merkle, Miguel Gil as Hugo Peabody, Henry Kirk as Randolph MacAfgee, and Megan Sikora as Gloria Rasputin, along with Allison Blackwell, Sarah Chiu, David Aron Damane, Victor de Paula Rocha, Jalen Michael Jones, Evan Kinnane, Kevin Ligon, Kelly LoMonte, Luke Kolbe Mannikus, Linda Mugleston, Maria Cristina Posada Slye, Renell Taylor, and Dori Waymer.

Marc Bruni is directing the new revival, which is part of the Broadway Center Stage series and dedicated to late Kennedy Center honoree (and Bye Bye Birdie original Broadway cast member) Chita Rivera. Denis Jones is choreographing, with John Bell serving as music director.

The production features scenic design by Lee Savage, lighting design by Cory Pattak, costume design by Linda Cho, sound design by Haley Parcher, video and projection design by Nathan Scheuer, and wig design by Tom Watson. Casting is by Geoff Josselson.

Visit for more.

Photos: Bye Bye Birdie at the Kennedy Center

Today’s Most Popular News:

Blocking belongs
on the stage,
not on websites.

Our website is made possible by
displaying online advertisements to our visitors.

Please consider supporting us by
whitelisting with your ad blocker.
Thank you!