Audiences can "Put on a Happy Face" as they enjoy a song of the same name in Gahanna Community Theatre's production of "Bye Bye Birdie."
More than 30 teenagers in the youth choir and 35 adult vocalists will perform in the musical scheduled at 8 p.m. Feb. 16 and 17 and 2:30 p.m. Feb. 18 in the Gahanna Lincoln High School auditorium, 140 S. Hamilton Road.
Producer Char McCasland said "Bye Bye Birdie" was chosen because Gahanna Community Theatre has never performed it.
"It is a show including both teenagers and adults, which makes for good community theater," she said. " 'Bye Bye Birdie' is lively, funny and entertaining, with lots of good music and dancing."
The show tells the story of Conrad Birdie, a 1950s rock and roll star about to be drafted into the U.S. Army.
A songwriter, Albert, is convinced he can make his fortune and marry his girlfriend, Rosie, if he gets Conrad on "The Ed Sullivan Show" to sing a song he wrote and to kiss a high school girl named Kim goodbye.
As events unfold, efforts to ruin the broadcast and various romances are planned.
Albert's mother will do anything to break up the romance with Rosie, according to McCasland.
Dan Schroen Sr., who plays one of the adult townsfolk of Sweet Apple, Ohio, where the story is set, said "Bye Bye Birdie" is a fun show.
"From my perspective of performing in 33 consecutive shows, I am still in awe of the amazing productions Gahanna Community Theatre accomplishes year after year," he said. "This year's 'Bye Bye Birdie' carries on the theater's rich tradition of blending terrific leads with outstanding chorus numbers."
Schroen said it also has a lot to offer all age groups, such as a nostalgic look at Elvis Presley-era Americana, coupled with high-energy singing and dancing from a large group of talented young people.
"Gahanna and surrounding community residents have a real treat in store for them," he said.
McCasland said Gahanna Community Theatre is blessed with performers who will make audiences laugh from beginning to end.
She said the theater group mostly features teens from Gahanna but also New Albany and Columbus.
"Our adults are as varied and live all around Franklin County," she said.
The main characters and the actors in those roles (respectively) include: Albert Peterson, Ben Rosen; Rose Alvarez, Susan Wilson; Kim MacAfee, Sydney Cannon; Ursula Merkle, Sara Tuohy; Mrs. Doris MacAfee, Adriane Gray; Mr. Harry MacAfee, Tim Adler; Randolf MacAfee, David Cremean; Mrs. Mae Peterson, Sandy Howard; Conrad Birdie, Xavier McCafferty; and Hugo Peabody, Keaton Ward.
Ian Short is directing the show. The music director is Chuck Miller, and the choreographer is Tony Ingham.
Tickets cost $15 and can be purchased at the door or online at gahannacommunitytheatre.org.