Rock-and-roll icon Conrad Birdie is about to go into the Army, and plans are being made to arrange his final going-away concert.Rock-and-roll icon Conrad Birdie is about to go into the Army, and plans are being made to arrange his final going-away concert.Rock-and-roll icon Conrad Birdie is about to go into the Army, and plans are being made to arrange his final going-away concert.
The casting at a glance may look strange to some but they really are qute marvelous(reading "annonymous"'s comments on Jason Alexander's performance made me sick). In fact, his perforamnce literally steals the show. As Albert, he mixes his own unique blend of manic nervousness with Dick Van Dyke-esque charm to create a new and improved Albert. The fact that he can dance and sing like nobody's business doeesn't hurt either. George Wendt is another stand out, who improves upon Paul Lynde's take on Harry McAffe by making him less manic and more down to Earth and strict. His whole character and body language scream "over my dead body". Marc Kudisch takes the Elvis aspect of Conrad Birdie to new heights with his subtle insertion of a "thank you very much" in "Honestly Sincere". His physicality though harkens back more to young Elvis then the bloated, stubly Conrad of the original film. The fact is that this movie differs so greatly from the original film (which added drawn in happpy faces, turtles on speed and the Russian ballet!!!) what did any of taht have to do with Bye, Bye Birdie, I wonder? The only possible advantage the original version has over this one is Ann Margret. Otherwise the update is better in every possible way. Where the old version cut many songs and increased dance breaks nwhere there was no need for them (and for all intents and purposes ended the movie in the middle of the play), the new version has restored the original music score and has added some great new stuff as well ("A Giant Step" being the standout in that category). We know live in trying times but if you want to get your mind off your troubles and put on a happy face then this is one worth checking out.
- Oct 31, 2001