Michael Horn, as Conrad Birdie, is torn between two women, Ali Dowell, Cabrini Class, who portray his teenage fans, as the St. James Academy middle-schoolers rehearse a scene from "Bye Bye Birdie" Feb. 3 at the Monkton school. The public is invited to see the musical performed at the school on Feb. 17, 18 and 19. (Photo by Steve Ruark / February 2, 2012)

St. James Academy's middle school students are getting a glimpse of teen life in the early 1960s as they prepare to perform "Bye Bye Birdie."

The musical will be held at the school's auditorium in Monkton on Feb. 17, 18 and 19.

The musical about a rock 'n' roll star giving one last performance before joining the Army debuted on Broadway in 1960, three years after rock and roll sensation Elvis Presley was drafted. It was also a 1963 movie starring Dick Van Dyke and Ann-Margaret.

Michael Horn, a seventh-grader from Kingsville, plays teenage heartthrob Conrad Birdie.


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"I'm out on stage wearing gold lame pants, a T-shirt and a black leather jacket, which is definitely not me," Michael said. "But it's a fun role."

Birdie's final concert takes place in the small town of Sweet Apple, Ohio where Kim MacAfee has been chosen to receive Birdie's last kiss.

She is played by Austin Nikirk and Emmy Bach, who will each do two performances. Director Randi Bradley double-cast many of the lead roles.

Nick Meittinis and William Larrabee play Albert Peterson, an unsuccessful songwriter who writes "One Last Kiss" for Birdie to sing. Hanna Hofmeister and April Roberts play Peterson's long-standing girlfriend, Rose Alvarez.

Morgan Dryer has the sole part as Albert's domineering mother, Mae Peterson.

"My character is the comedic relief in the play," Morgan said. "She acts all weak, but she's determined to keep her son from marrying Rosie. Nothing is too good for her son."

The play also features Nick Frantz, Farrell Strueber, Clare Huppert and Taylor Kern as Kim MacAfee's parents, and David Savitsky and Jake Gross as her boyfriend, Hugo Peabody.

The play will be performed Feb. 17 at 7 p.m.; Feb. 18 at 1:30 and 7 p.m.; and Feb. 19 at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $8 and can be purchased by emailing Karen-Paul@comcast.net.

St. James Academy is at 3100 Monkton Road.