Tapestry’s “Bye Bye Birdie!”

Wow—this is the third time since starting our blog that we’re writing about the Tapestry Theater Company. (Last year, Tapestry performed “Annie” ( http://bit.ly/tapest2 ) and the year before, it was “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” ( http://bit.ly/tapest1 ) To refresh you, Tapestry presents a shortened version of a Broadway musical after a long summer of rehearsals, and the main actors are all kids with disabilities, while neuro-typical kids act as understudies and mentors. Everyone is paired up, and even during the performances, leads and understudies are present on stage together. The mentors are like a safety net, allowing us main actors to focus on doing our best, knowing that if we stumble or need help, there’s someone right there who can jump in and cue, gesture, sing along, or whatever is needed to keep the show going smoothly. Plus, the mentors have their own characters to play, so they are an integral part of what’s happening in each scene.

We all get to be really good friends, everyone cares, and I always look forward to rehearsals. I’m so thankful to the directors for creating this troupe. In fact, three years ago, it was Tapestry that put me back on stage, doing theater, at a time when things were looking pretty bleak for me…the tics, OCD, and anxiety attacks that took me over at the beginning of high school kept me from participating in any more “typical” shows. That was heartbreaking. But now I have an outlet again, and since I love singing, acting, and performing, nothing could be better than having Tapestry. Since quite a few of us have been with the group since it started, it also feels a bit like a second family.

Bye Birdie 1

This year, we’ve been immersed in the 1950’s, putting together Bye Bye Birdie, which is a takeoff on the Elvis Presley phenomenon. In the musical, Conrad Birdie, the rock star, is drafted into the army and all the teen girls are heartbroken because they’ll be missing out on his concerts. His manager, Albert (that’s my role) and his secretary, Rosie, cook up a plan that will bring in fame and fortune: before Birdie leaves, he’ll sing a farewell song on TV (written by Albert) and will bestow a symbolic good-bye kiss upon one fan—a lucky teen girl, chosen at random. The setup creates all kinds of hilarious situations and pokes fun at the way teens idolize certain rock stars.

Tapestry got some great news coverage ( http://bit.ly/tapest1 ) and then we had our opening night, and for the first time, we all realized just how funny this show is. The audience was constantly bursting out in laughs, and it was sometimes hard to keep a straight face up on stage! All that response was inspiring and helped with bringing out new things in our characters that we maybe hadn’t thought of before. It’s funny how audience response can actually make a show get even better…

Bye Birdie 3 Bye Birdie 4 Bye Birdie 2

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