Local residents can take a trip back in time to the 1950s when the Columbus Academy Student Theatre presents "Bye Bye Birdie" at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, April 27 and 28.

Local residents can take a trip back in time to the 1950s when the Columbus Academy Student Theatre presents "Bye Bye Birdie" at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, April 27 and 28.

The musical comedy was inspired by the phenomenon of popular singer Elvis Presley being drafted into the Army in 1958.

In the play, the rock star character's name, Conrad Birdie, is a play on the name of Conway Twitty, a country music star who also was one of Presley's rock 'n' roll rivals.

Director Susan Neal said she selected the show because it's a classic.

"I have a lot of seniors who are in this show, and they're quite talented," she said. "I think the show fits their talents best."

Senior Will Westwater of Gahanna takes on the role of Conrad Birdie.

"It is hilarious," he said. "I've genuinely been cracking up a lot on set. It's hard to keep it together sometimes. It's a play you have to realize makes fun of itself."

Westwater said Birdie is supposed to be extra gushy and over-the-top.

"There's no role quite like Conrad Birdie," he said. "It's a blast. I'm being kind of a jerk. People love me, but I'm not that cool until I'm a little vulnerable. You almost get a free card to be blatantly disrespectful. I'm happy to say I'm not like that in real life."

Westwater said the theater department is pulling out all the stops, leaving the front two rows of seats reserved for the screaming girls of the Conrad Birdie fan club.

Other leads in the approximately 50-member cast and crew include Faith Christiansen of New Albany as Rose Alvarez; Alex Farrenkopf of Gahanna as Albert Peterson and Emily Carlin of New Albany as Kim MacAfee.

Neal said guests would enjoy at least one hot rod, a typical car from the 1950s.

The lobby will also be decorated 1950s style.

"We'll have Hostess cupcakes and Necco wafers," Neal said.

Songs include "Put On a Happy Face" and "I've Got a lot of Livin' to Do."

"I think the kids are doing a superb job," Neal said. "It's a fun show to do. It has a lot of action stuff. It's a nostalgic show. This is the last show for the kids I've been with for a long time."

Tickets cost $7 and may be purchased at the door to the school's Schoedinger Theatre lobby on the night of the performances.

Columbus Academy is at 4300 Cherry Bottom Road in Gahanna. Directions and more information can be found online at columbusacademy.org.