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Critics wish 'Bye Bye Birdie' was more than just a title

October 16, 2009 |  7:44 am

Bye Bye Birdie Reviews Broadway John Stamos Gina Gershon Entertainment News 1357908 The first Broadway revival of 1961 Tony champ "Bye Bye Birdie" was dismissed by the critics, receiving some of the harshest reviews in recent memory. And while leads John Stamos and Gina Gershon were faulted, reviewers reserved their strongest criticism for Tony winner Bill Irwin ("Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?") in the role of the beleaguered father of the teenage girl chosen to receive one last kiss from rock 'n' roll idol Conrad Birdie. 

Robert Longbottom took on the same double duties of directing and choreographing that won Gower Champion a pair of Tonys in 1961. As per the critics, he missed the mark on both fronts.  And with a quartet of Tony-winning tuners --  "A Little Night Music,"  "Finian's Rainbow," "La Cage Aux Folles" and "Ragtime" -- still to come this season, "Bye Bye Birdie" may have a tough time earning even a nod in the best revival race.

In a Tony twist, original stars Dick Van Dyke and Chita Rivera contended for featured awards because they were billed below the title -- he won his only Tony bid while she had to wait till 1984 and nod No. 5 ("The Rink") to win. Rivera picked up a Tony bookend in 1993 for "Kiss of the Spider Woman."

Photo: Roundabout Theatre Company

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Comments

Saw BBB last night, and people in my row were laughing at how awful the singing was. On a curious note, especially reading the above, my wife and I found Bill Irwin the bright spot of the show. This bland production needed some weirdness, and Irwin delivered! I also dug Conrad, though the guy could hardly sing, either. But seriously, what a piece of s--t this show is.

Linsey Lohan.???..hey annie... Kim is suppose to be 16

I have tickets for the Oct 31 performace...If the girl that played the teenager was so bad, the perfect choice for this role should be Lindsay Lohan...Give the girl a chance...Could be what she needs to re-start her career

I saw it the last night of previews, when the set fell down. Bob Saget stole the show and he wasn't even in the cast! The show is truly an embarrassment. I think the biggest fault is the director, writer and producer. Stamos and Gershon both did their best but they were horribly miscast. Irwin did what he does -- but someone who knew better should have stopped him! It befuddles my mind that the gal who played Kim got some good reviews. She was horrible!

We just saw BBB in NY on Tuesday night. PAINFUL, especially Bill Irwin's strange performance. We had just seen West Side Story, A Steady Rain, and God of Carnage, all top notch shows which shone in comparison to Birdie. It was a sour note in our New York trip, especially as I've always loved the show and its music. I can't imagine it lasting long.


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