Bye, Bye Birdie, Bye Bye Blues
Last Saturday I attended the Fine Arts Guild’s production of the adorable musical comedy set in the 50s, “Bye Bye Birdie.” It was a light-hearted play, delightfully performed by 30 dedicated volunteers who did an exceptional job.
Part of the cast was my wonderful wife who, despite a few years difference in age, had the role of a teenager in the chorus. For two months prior to the first of six performances, she (like all the cast and crew involved) committed themselves to practice, practice, practice until they got it right. And get it right they did! It was light-hearted fun, and gave the audience members a couple hours of emotional enjoyment that replaced the emotional blues of dealing with the issues of today. Entertainment replaced concerns, “Bye Bye Birdie” replaced the blues in my heart and soul.
For the price of admission, one witnessed the serious dedication of a harmonious group of locals striving for perfection and having the time of their lives. The cast members were from all walks of the community: school teachers, Eagle Rock and local school students, library personnel, retirees, a nurse, store owners, insurance executives and town employees. The musical accompaniment was supplied by a postal worker, a retiree, our local judge and our school’s musical director. Julie Varilek, a cheerful little dynamo full of energy who encouraged timely musical precision, was the play’s musical director. Besides the actors, there were lighting people, set builders and costume makers, all being encouraged and counseled by director Julie Phares. Here is a multi-tasking gal who maintains an executive full-time job, has a family, performs in various ventures throughout the year and has been an officer of the noontime Rotary. It was she and her husband Charles who initiated the wonderfully successful “Estes Park Sings” performances of the last several years. Julie Phares is an unyielding force of nature, super-organized, delightful in personality and talented on or off the stage.
To sum up the experience, it was wonderful, and I have heard it said that it “may be the best musical performance ever in Estes Park.” I did miss my wife for two months, but hey, she came home every night from rehearsals pooped but excited. “Bye Bye Birdie” was bye bye blues for her too!
Estes Valley resident and