Mount Nittany Middle School’s Bye Bye Birdie

Bella Poher, actress of Rosie, signing a playbill of an audience member after the closing show.

Bella Poher, actress of Rosie, signing a playbill of an audience member after the closing show.

On February 28th to the first of March, Mount Nittany Middle School put on the musical Bye Bye Birdie. Bye Bye Birdie is a musical about a famous rockstar, Conrad Birdie who gets drafted for war, all of his fans are devastated. But a struggling songwriter, Albert Peterson, takes it as an opportunity and writes a song for Birdie to sing to one lucky fan before he gets sent off. Kim McAfee wins the contest and makes her boyfriend Hugo jealous as Birdie sweeps her off her feet. It is a heartthrob musical that is comical, captivating, and romantic. 

Bella Pohner, an eighth-grader at Mount Nittany played the role of “Rosie” and said, “Getting the opportunity to play Rosie has been such an emotional journey for me. I feel as if I have really seen errors in my life and have been able to influence that into my performance and overall take back everything I’ve learned, and it’s helping me grow into such a better person and I could not have done any of this without the help of Kat, Amy and Matt Shaffer.” Matt Shaffer, Kat Shondek and Amy Sliman all helped put on the production and make it such a memorable show. 

Seventh-grader Finn Killeen played the role of Conrad Birdie. “It has been fun, though it’s very off for me with the pedophilia and the drinking. But it has been quite fun with everybody and being on stage has been such an amazing experience,” Killeen said. The show was made in 1963, so there are some parts of the show that are controversial and a bit more mature than shows they have done in the past. 

Ava Krebs, a seventh-grader at Mount Nittany, played the role of “Mae Peterson” and stated, “I am so happy to have been part of this production. I love every second of being on stage, and I made some amazing friends along the way. Being a part of these shows has brought out the best in me and I can’t wait to be a part of the next production!” The show had about 150 kids involved. The team of kids on stage and backstage were in charge of everything every night the show was performing. 

Many former MNMS Drama Club members came back to the show to support as well as to look back on experiences from the club in a bittersweet way. Becca Ziegler, junior, and MNMS Drama Club alumni attended the show. “I thought the energy was amazing and I think that they were in character the whole time; it was a great show. I love coming back every year to see another show done incredibly by the middle school,” Ziegler said. The drama club has been run by Kat Shondeck and Matt Shaffer since 2011, and every year their shows are getting more and more advanced. 

Every year, MNMS Drama Club puts on an outstanding performance with talented students and all with the help and dedication of Kat Shondeck, Matt Shaffer, and Amy Sliman. Not only are these shows a great production but they also have such a great impact on all the students involved. It is an open community and not only is it a fun environment, but it is also an environment full of talent and has the ability to put on shows that will be the talk of the town for years after its opening night.