Come to think of it, neither were most of their parents.
But the show, which was made into a motion picture starring Dick Van Dyke, Janet Leigh and became the debut vehicle for the sensational Ann-Margret, has stood the test of time nearly 50 years after its release.
That's why the show will be the annual musical theater production performed by the students of Weehawken High School.
"Bye Bye Birdie" will have two performances on Friday, March 23 and Saturday, March 24, beginning at 7:30 p.m. at the Weehawken High School auditorium. Tickets are priced at $5.00 and there is general admission seating.
Large musical numbers
The show is sponsored by the Weehawken Against Drugs and Alcohol Alliance. For the fifth straight year, the show will be directed by the instructional theater group Inside Broadway, a group of professional actors and directors who go to schools to assist the students with their high school productions.
Braddon Mehrton, who directed last year's Weehawken production of "Grease," has been assigned as the artist-in-residence once again to direct "Bye Bye Birdie."
In fact, it was the success of "Grease" that gave the school's music director Steven Spinosa the idea to do "Bye Bye Birdie" this year.
"We were trying to think of a play that would get a lot of kids involved and most of the kids who were in 'Grease' last year were coming back this year," Spinosa said. "We had kids who definitely fit the parts for 'Birdie' and it just seemed to fit. We had a lot of seventh and eighth grade girls who wanted to come out. What a better way than to have them come out screaming and swooning for Conrad Birdie."
The story line of the show is based on a teenaged girl from Ohio who is selected to be kissed on "The Ed Sullivan Show" by a teen idol rock star named Conrad Birdie, who is definitely very similar to Elvis Presley.
The musical numbers in the show are memorable, like "Kids," "Going Steady," "Just One Kiss," "A Boy Like Hugo," and the title song, which made Swedish bombshell Ann-Margret into a superstar.
"Bye Bye Birdie is a very diverse show, a show that is a lot of fun," Spinosa said.
For love of singing
But it's a show that flew under the radar from one of the show's stars, freshman Josh Duncan, who will portray Albert, the role made famous by Dick Van Dyke.
"I never even heard of it before," said Duncan, who comes from musical stock, as both parents are performers and composers. "I didn't even know what it was."
But Spinosa brought a copy of the movie into school and let the students watch it for themselves.
"I thought it was a lot of fun," Duncan said. "I thought we could have fun with it."
Then, Duncan was given the lead male role.
"I was in the play last year, but I didn't have a big part," Duncan said. "When I lived in Boston, my parents used to produce Christmas shows and I performed with them, so I knew what it was going to be like. Mr. Spinosa encouraged me to audition. I love singing and he knew it. It's a way for me to escape. I like to imitate people I see in movies and TV."
"He's a natural," Spinosa said. "He has a great voice. I didn't know he was that good. Obviously, talent runs in the family."
While Duncan might be a virtual newcomer, the girl who has the Ann-Margret role of Kim is certainly not.
Junior Vicky Camporeale has been in every Weehawken production since she was in sixth grade.
Last year, she had the lead as Sandy in "Grease." In years past, Camporeale has performed as Adelaide in "Guys and Dolls," was Snoopy in "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown," and had several songs to perform in "Smokey Joe's Café."
Camporeale hopes to study music and theater in college and aspires to be a professional actress and singer, so this production is right down her alley.
"I really love it," Camporeale said. "I love singing and I love to be on stage. It's a different feeling being on stage. I get to be someone else on stage. I've seen the show before and when I heard we were doing it, I knew that it was going to be fun, because it's similar to 'Grease.' And I knew I wanted to be Kim. I like the songs and I get to show the pretty side of my voice. This should be exciting."
Senior Gina Chehid has the role of Rosie Alvarez, who plays Albert's girlfriend.
"It's very exciting for me, because it's my last year and last show," Chehid said. "I'm going to be a performing arts major in college, so it's very important for me to go out with a good performance. It's a very demanding show, but it's been a lot of fun. We have a great cast. Since the show is so well know, the pressure is on for us to give an accurate portrayal. And I finally have a lead role, so it's even more exciting for me."
Others in the cast include Tony Cimino as Conrad Birdie, Bryan Alava as Hugo, Gabe Agostin and Maura Hehir as Mr. and Mrs. McAfee and Alicia Roderick as Mrs. Peterson.
"It's a fun show with a lot of choreography and a lot of good music," Spinosa said. "The students are excited and the teachers are as well, with a lot of them helping out. We're definitely happy with it so far."
The Weehawken High School production of "Bye Bye Birdie" will be performed on Friday and Saturday nights at the Weehawken High School auditorium beginning at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $5 and seating is general admission. Transportation to and from the high school is available for senior citizens. For further information, contact the high school at (201) 422-6130.
Jim Hague can be reached via e-mail at either OGSMAR@aol.com or firstname.lastname@example.org