Marc Buckhout/The Foothills Focus
Starlight Theater will present Bye Bye Birdie June 9 – 12 at Boulder Creek High School. Cast members performed at Desert Ridge Marketplace Saturday, giving shoppers a glimpse of some of the show’s songs.

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Starlight brings Bye Bye Birdie to Anthem

MARC BUCKHOUT ~ MANAGING EDITOR ~5/25/2011

After commanding the attention of patrons wandering in and out of shops at Desert Ridge Marketplace the cast of Bye Bye Birdie believe they’ll have no trouble entertaining audiences showing up to see Starlight Community Theater’s presentation of the 1950s satire.
On Saturday members of the cast gave a taste of what theater fans will have the opportunity to see June 9-12 at Boulder Creek High School in Anthem by performing a number of songs from the show.
“It’s a great show with a message of how sometimes you have to be willing to push people you care about in the right direction,” Scott Sims, who plays the lead role of Albert Peterson. “And then there’s the music. Everybody loves the great tunes in this show.”
Black Canyon City resident Scott Sims, a Deer Valley High School choir teacher, decided he would encourage a bunch of his students to tryout for the show.
“I’ve seen several of Starlight’s productions and I know the woman that plays the piano for them,” he said.
While the original plan was to go and simply be supportive of his students Sims was talked into trying out for the play.
“I figured I could be an old guy in the chorus,” he said. “So I was pretty excited when I tried out and they picked me for the lead role.”
For Kyle Backer, one of seven Deer Valley students from Sims class to be tabbed for the show, it has been a unique experience.
“It has been fun seeing him in a different light,” the 16-year-old said. “We get to see him more as a friend than just as our teacher.”
Sims jokes that he has let, “what little hair he has remaining down,” in playing
the lead role in which he serves as the agent for Backer’s character, Conrad Birdie.
Backer plays a character written in the likeness of Elvis Presley who was drafted into the Army in 1958. In Bye Bye Birdie, Birdie travels to Sweet Apple, Ohio to make his farewell television performance where he is to kiss his biggest fan, Kim MacAfee, before he is drafted.
MacAfee is played by Jazmine Woods, a 16-year-old, who just completed her sophomore year at Boulder Creek High School.
“My character is fighting to be independent and is being told that she has to wait for her time to come,” Jazmine said.
Woods is joined in the cast by her younger sister Lilly and is being directed by her aunt Kimberly Woods and her grandmother Brenda.
“We have a group from all backgrounds,” Kimberly said. “We have cast members from Glendale and the Deer Valley area, all the way up to Black Canyon City and New River and then in Anthem too.”
Brenda said she likes Starlight’s mix of shows.
“They have shows strictly for children, ones that are adult plays and then some that are a mix,” she said. “We’re thrilled with the cast that has come together. They’ve worked very hard to prepare and get along very well.”
The Woods aren’t the only family involved in the show.
Susan Gibson always has had a love for the arts her husband through the opera.
After being away from the theater for a number of years she was drawn back to it in
order to be in the cast with her teenage sons.
“I think this show is good family entertainment and maybe that’s why there are so many family members in it together,” she said. My sons say this is the most fun they have had in a long time.”
Tickets to Bye Bye Birdie are available through starlightcommunitytheater.org at discounted prices of $12 for adults and $10 for children. Tickets also will be available at the door for 7 p.m. shows June 9 – 12 and 3 p.m. shows on June 11 – 12. To view additional photos from Saturday’s flash mob performance at Desert Ridge Marketplace go to The Foothills Focus Facebook page at facebook.com/thefoothills.focus.