Tuesday, October 20, 2009

DID YOU KNOW?: “Bye, Bye Birdie” could have been Polish?

1960 - Dick Van Dyke and Chita Rivera
2009 - Gina Gershon and John Stamos

The show Bye, Bye Birdie’s main focus are the characters Albert and Rosie. The two originals were Dick Van Dyke and Chita Rivera. Van Dyke, then a virtual unknown, brought winsome charm to the role. Rivera had been a hit as Anita in West Side Story but had never been cast as a Broadway lead. The part came her way after Carol Haney turned down the role, and the first cast Rosie (Edie Gorme), lost her voice. The character was originally a young woman of Polish descent, and it was quickly rewritten to reflect a Hispanic background. The character's last name was changed from "Grant" to "Alvarez."

The current revival with John Stamos and Gina Gershon opened last week on Broadway at the newly renovated Henry Miller Theatre for an open run.

Initially titled Let's Go Steady, the satire on American society is set in 1958.

The original Broadway production was a Tony Award-winning success. It spawned a London production and several major revivals, a sequel, a 1963 film and a 1995 television production. The show also became a popular choice for high school and college productions.