Trinity Lutheran to present popular “Bye Bye Birdie”


Excitement filled the lobby of Trinity Lutheran High School as the cast rehearsed its annual fall musical Monday evening.

The cast of students had practiced the lines, songs, choreography and more, but this week, they’ve put it all together for dress rehearsals for “Bye Bye Birdie.”

“This is a huge week for all of us,” said senior Mary Matthews, who portrays Rosie Alvarez. “We always do a great job, but it’s a lot, and it’s really fun and worth it. I’m very excited about the show, especially because it’s my last year.”

The school’s choir and drama department will perform the shows at 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. All shows will be at Trinity Lutheran High School, 7120 N. County Road 875E, Seymour. Tickets are $10.

The Tony Award-winning musical is set in 1958 and was inspired by rock ‘n’ roll legend Elvis Presley’s draft notice. It follows the story of rock star Conrad Birdie, who is drafted into the military, and his songwriter, Albert Peterson. Peterson’s secretary, who also is a love interest, devises a plan where Birdie will release one final song with a twist before leaving overseas.

For the rest of the story, you’ll have to attend one of the four shows at the school.

Jayme Lowe, a first-year English and drama teacher at the school, is directing the show along with music director Leah Schneider. About 60 students are involved in the production.

“It has been really amazing, and the kids have been great to work with,” Lowe said.

The students have a lot of talent, work ethic and positive attitudes, she said.

“All these kids are really busy, so it’s awesome when they put their heart and soul into this show, so I’ve been impressed with them,” she said.

Lowe, who accepted the position at Trinity in June, leaned on advice from Schneider about what show to do.

“She said based on the kids she had returning that she thought this would be a great one to do,” she said. “I told her that I loved this show, and I’m glad we are able to do it. These kids were the perfect fit for it.”

Josh Rowe, a senior who portrays Birdie, said the show has become second nature to him after all of the rehearsals.

“We’ve done it so much in class, so now, it’s easy to know and gets stuck in your head,” he said during a break. “It’s almost like watching a movie.”

Rowe has been in choir and drama all four years of high school. He said experiencing a show with his classmates who have become family during his time at Trinity is special.

“I just love being out here with a bunch of people that I love and having fun with them,” he said. “It’s fun to sing all these songs and act.”

Noah Mensendiek, a junior who plays Peterson, said the show is proof that the school has the ability to offer a show like “Bye Bye Birdie” to the public.

“It just shows how many talented students we have here,” he said. “It’s a fun way to hang out with friends and get to know more people.”

Mensendiek said he has practiced the lines as much as possible through the months of preparations.

“I just try to study as best I can, and if all else fails, I go with it because the show must go on,” he said. “I usually take a scene every two nights and go over it until I have it down.”

Matthews said practicing with the whole group rather than scene by scene is helpful because it gives a more complete picture of what will happen.

“I just go home at night and do scenes for a certain amount of time,” she said. “I’ve kept my mother up, too.”

Matthews said it was not hard to get into the frame of mind to play Alvarez because of their similarities.

“She’s a little sassy, and I kind of have a sassy attitude,” she said with a laugh. “Every year, I get picked to be someone I can be.”

Abby Lemming, a senior, plays Deborah Sue and said she has enjoyed being a part of the musical.

“I love doing the shows and really love to sing,” she said. “Every week, it’s so crazy, but it’s so fun because we all get to do it together.”

Lemming said she thinks the show will be a great success and has come a long way since the group started.

“It’s going really well, and we really stepped it up,” she said.

Isabella Whitmore, a junior who plays Ursula Merkle, said her role is fun because she gets to set friends straight.

“She’s always a friend to Kim and listens to her problems and yells at her,” she said, adding the show is fun to do. “I’ve been saying the lines over and over in practice without having to study them too much.”

Schneider said the students all work well together and play off of each other onstage.

“I think it helps that these kids grew up together, and I think it makes it a fun family environment,” she said.

If you go

What: Trinity Lutheran High School’s production of “Bye Bye Birdie”

When: 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday

Where: Trinity Lutheran High School, 7120 N. County Road 875E, Seymour

Cost: $10 per ticket. Visit Trinity Lutheran’s office or call 812-524-8547.

Cast and crew: Noah Mensendiek, Mary Matthews, Josh Rowe, Simeon Bauman, Addison Bumbleburg, Alyssa Schultz, Prader Kiel, Adam Everroad, Izzy Whitmore, Abby Lemming, Bailey Cain, Katelyn Rowe, Logan Covey, Hannah Kerkhof, Mya Lindroth, Erin Enzinger, Sarah Lemming, Cameron Gruenwald, Cole Brewer, Conner Sims, Amelia Hessong, Katelyn Rowe, Caleb Probst, Tanner Bauserman, Riley Lawless, Genesis Munoz, Jordan Peters, Paige Lawrence, Bailey Tabeling, Gabby Murphy, Taylor Hobbs, Mallory Shoemaker, Reagan Cain, Abby Hildreth, McKenzie Ozbun, Carissa Newcomb, Kaelyn Miller, Samantha Enzinger, Tori Lang, Kennedy Royalty, Karla Hildreth, Ally Russell, Paige McCammon, Kathryn Whitmore, Sawyer Doggett, Noah Voelker and Davis Tracey

Directors: Jayme Lowe and Leah Schneider

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