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Pyramid Players auditions set for summer season

updated: 3/8/2012 7:22 AM

The Pyramid Players celebrate their 36th season with auditions for all-time favorite "Bye Bye Birdie,"?which will be staged at the Rend Lake College Theatre June 28 through 30.

Founded in 1977 by Allan Kimball and Brian Summers, the not-for-profit theatre troupe has produced more than 80 musicals over the past 36 years, mostly using the RLC Theatre stage. For the Children's Theatre Workshop last summer, the group staged Disney's "Beauty & the Beast" involving over 70 children from all over Southern Illinois.

This summer the Players are combining both adults and children in one show, as they did in the summer of 2010 with "The Music Man."  

"Bye Bye Birdie" calls for a large cast of all ages to be the townspeople in Sweet Apple, Ohio, so directors are hoping for a large turnout of people for auditions.

It's the late 1950s and teenagers from across the United States are going crazy for the handsome rock star, Conrad Birdie. Meanwhile, his manager, Albert Peterson, is going into debt and has staked his financial future on Conrad's success. Albert's secretary, Rosie, is increasingly frustrated with the time and money Albert is losing on his project.

Disaster strikes when Conrad receives a draft notice to join the military. Thus, Albert attempts to stage a farewell party for Conrad in which he is to kiss one lucky fan on the Ed Sullivan Show before he leaves for the army.

Kim MacAfee, from Sweet Apple, Ohio, is the lucky girl chosen to be kissed. But conflict arises when her boyfriend, Hugo Peabody, gets jealous, and Rosie becomes fed-up with the abusive treatment she receives from Albert's mother. Eventually, things turn out all right. Kim and Hugo resolve their problems while Albert agrees to leave managing, become an English teacher and marry Rosie.

Two audition dates are set, and those interested may choose the one that is most convenient. The first date is set for Saturday, April 14, from 9 a.m. to noon in the community room next to Target in Illinois Centre Mall in Marion. Date two is Saturday, April 21, from noon to 4 p.m. at the Rend Lake College Theatre.

Auditioners  are asked to prepare a short song that shows off their abilities. A CD/tape player will be provided if needed, and an accompanist will be there for those who bring sheet music.  Some auditioners may be asked to read from a script.  Children must be currently enrolled in first grade.

The Pyramid Players prides itself in using talent from so many Southern Illinois communities in their yearly summer productions.

"We really are a community theatre,"?Kimball said. "We attract many talented people to our auditions and use many of them as actors, orchestra musicians, and back-stage crew. Everyone volunteers, too ... that makes us different from some other organizations."

Susan Summers conveys that the Pyramid Players committee decided that they would like to do a show where both kids and adults could be in the cast together.

"Knowing that families are looking for things to do together during summer break from school, we thought:?What better way than to create some great memories by being on stage in a classic musical! So we are encouraging parents, grandparents, etc., to consider being in the show and bringing their younger families along for great fun and a terrific learning experience."  

Children's directors Pam Kimball and Alisa Leffler agree that one thing that previous PP kid's show participants always talk about is what great friendships are formed from year to year being in Pyramid Players shows.

More audition details can be found along with programs and photo gallery of past productions on the website, Information can be requested by email at, or by calling Susan at 521-1794.

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