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Bye Bye Birdie is a good laugh

I was able to speak with Mr. Jamie Hillen, RHHS’s musical theater teacher and one of the teachers organizing this year’s performance, about the play as a whole, and some of the challenges of putting on a real life high school musical.

Q: Why was Bye Bye Birdie chosen for this year’s performance?

A: Well we were looking for a show that Mrs. Richards and I were both familiar with, and one that was good, that would be fun for the kids. This one is a lot of fun.

Q: What are some of the perks and challenges of putting on a musical?


The biggest challenge here is finding a good facility to do it in. Here at the high school we just have the cafeteria and the gymnasium, we don’t have a stage so we have to use other facilities in the community. That’s our biggest challenge.

Q: Are you getting a big turnout of students for the auditioning?

A: Yes, I was very pleased. We had around 65 students sign up to audition.

Q: What would you say to either a potential audience, or someone who’s unsure about coming to see the play?

A: It’s gonna be a great time. I guarantee when you come it’s a fun show, there’s a lot of great music, it’s upbeat, and it’s very funny. It’s a good laugh. - by Stephen Hundley

How much are we really proving?

A current issue in one of our neighboring counties, Effingham, is whether or not liquor drinks should be served in restaurants. Now, while I’m not about to try to solve such a clash of ideals in a few short paragraphs, I want to point out that in our own city it is illegal to serve alcoholic beverages in restaurants on Sunday, and it has been said that many bigger chain restaurants have turned away from us because of it. What this looks like to me is older, southern, Bible belt ‘Blue Laws’ coming into conflict with economic growth. Obviously cities in our county, such as Richmond Hill, are still growing. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard my parents, teachers and other adults in the community tell me how amazing it is to them how much Richmond Hill has grown up, but the issue of how these lingering ‘Blue Laws’ are limiting us still exists.

If we, as a community, have made the choice to accept these laws as something we believe to be morally right, and thus worth the loss of some restaurants and economic expansion, then that’s great. But how much are we really proving by banning alcoholic drinks in our county, when someone can drive ten minutes to Chatham County and order a Jack and coke at Applebee’s? If by doing this we are sacrificing the morals that keep liquor, and business, out of our county why are we not also taking the benefits? Why not keep that business here where the people who are against alcoholic beverages on Sunday can still refrain from indulging in them, and the people who would normally give their business to Savannah, give it instead to our own community.

- by Stephen Hundley

‘Acting is something that comes natural’

I spoke with Kerrie Keith, who we met earlier concerning this year’s Chili Bowl, about the musical Bye Bye Birdie and what we can expect to see on stage.

It was exciting to hear about the play, and the preparations for it, from the viewpoint of someone acting in it.

Q: What has been the hardest part about acting in a musical so far?

A: Dance steps. Acting is something that comes natural to someone, and singing isn’t that difficult. Acting and coping with stage presence.

Q: Is there a lot of dancing in Bye Bye Birdie?

A: According to the choreographer, which is Mrs. Richards, there’s not that much in it. There is some, and it’s fairly difficult, but there’s not going to be that much.

Q: Have you ever been in any musicals at RHHS before?

A: Yes, I was actually in two. I took musical theater 1 and 2 my freshmen year so I couldn’t take it my sophomore year if I wanted to take it my junior and senior year, because there’s only four levels. So I took it my freshmen year with Mrs. Dalton and I was in When in Rome and 80’s Prom. I didn’t try out for High School Musical, because I was kinda busy.

Q: What makes you want to be a part of this musical?

A: I love performing in front of audiences. Bye Bye Birdie is one of my favorites; you know the whole Elvis-type thing. It’s a really great musical and I want to get involved with the music program here.


What part are you auditioning for?


I really am happy with any part. Obviously the choice is the lead role, which is Kim or Rosie, cause their basically two main roles. But if I don’t get it it’s not a big deal, just to be a part of it.

- by Stephen Hundley

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