Mr. Strouse, 95, who co-wrote the show with book writer Michael Stewart and lyricist Lee Adams, said he was moved by the students’ commitment to the material, and he praised both the orchestra and the conducting by MSM Musical Theatre Music Director David Loud.
“It’s better than Broadway,” Charles Strouse told his assistant after the show. He added that seeing the MSM production and attending one of its rehearsals was “a highlight of [his] life.”
MSM Dean of Musical Theatre Liza Gennaro has a long relationship with Mr. Strouse that began when her father, legendary choreographer Peter Gennaro, choreographed the composer’s Annie, and continued when she worked on the sequel, Annie 2.
“Having him visit MSM was a great thrill and an honor,” said Dean Gennaro after the performance. “Charles was extremely moved to hear the full orchestrations and our wonderful young musical theatre performers sing his songs. It was an emotional night.”
Photo above: the Broadway legend poses with MSM Musical Theatre students and members of the creative team after the show. Also in the photo, Broadway performer Lee Roy Reams, back row, sixth from left, wearing a black turtleneck.
Read more about the visit below!
BYE BYE BIRDIE at MSM
NOV 3 to 5, 2023
Book by Michael Stewart
Lyrics by Lee Adams
Music by Charles Strouse
Katie Spelman, Director and Choreographer
David Loud, Music Director
Charles Strouse and MSM Musical Theatre sophomore Isabel Wallach who played one of the orphans in a national tour of Annie, also composed by Mr. Strouse
CHARLES STROUSE ATTENDS A REHEARSAL AT MSM
The composer was an invited guest by MSM Musical Theatre to watch a rehearsal of his musical Bye Bye Birdie with full orchestra in Ades Performance Space in October 2023. He was very happy to attend with his assistants, and watched with great enthusiasm while sitting next to Dean of Musical Theatre Liza Gennaro.
Mr. Strouse spent time afterwards giving his praise to the cast, the musicians, and the creative team. Enjoy this selection of photos from the visit below:
SLIDE SHOW: Composer Charles Strouse takes part in a rehearsal for Bye Bye Birdie
RAVE REVIEWS FROM THE AUDIENCE
The production ran for four performances from November 3 to 5 to near sold-out crowds. Read a selection of audience reactions by clicking on the dropdown menu below.
What a great production. Fabulous orchestra, voices were marvelous, costumes ravishing …songs familiar to those of a certain age…Rosie (Ms. Rarick) a knockout and Niko Charney as Albert Peterson were beautifully matched in every way. Bright futures for them. Birdie played by Jacob Dueker was a believable teen idol with a glorious voice. Supporting cast did a fabulous job. Lighting sets, just perfect.
I just came back from the matinee production, which was SUPERB! Astonishingly good direction, choreography, singing, acting, and musical direction. It’s one of the finest things I have seen at MSM!
Terrific production of the much-loved musical. Fantastic direction/choreography by Katie Spelman. Strong voices, solid acting. A joyous 2.5 hours of escapism.
Amazing show! Amazing cast and amazing acting! Kudos to Manhattan School of Music — terrific job!! Highly recommend this show! I’d go again!
This was an outstanding show! One of the best we have seen, including Broadway musicals!
AMAZING, everything you want in a musical!!!
Run to see it.
An absolute gem. Do not miss these performances. Cast was wonderful and music and dance fantastic. These students will be on Broadway soon!
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