Effervescent Musical Comedy Features All-Star Cast
Boca Raton, FL – The Wick Theatre is hopping back to the 1950s with the high-energy musical Bye Bye Birdie. The winner of four Tony Awards, including Best Musical, is a nostalgic trip featuring catchy songs, energetic dance numbers, and an all-star cast that exudes charisma. The show runs November 30 to December 24, 2023, with evening shows on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30pm, and matinees on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 2pm. Tickets are $109 and are available at www.thewick.org or by calling the box office at 561-995-2333.
“Bye Bye Birdie is the fun, upbeat, hilarious show we all need right now,” said Marilynn A. Wick, Managing Executive Producer. “This charming musical comedy features a stellar cast of electrifying performers, and we are thrilled that so many of our audience favorites will be featured in this phenomenal production!”
Based upon the real-life media madness which ensued following Elvis Presley’s 1957 army draft letter, the Tony Award-winning Bye Bye Birdie, with book by Michael Stewart, music by Charles Strouse, and lyrics by Lee Adams, features fictional teen heart-throb Conrad Birdie, who’s soon to be shipped off. But before Uncle Sam gets him, one lucky girl, Kim McAfee, wins a farewell kiss from Conrad on the Ed Sullivan Show. Comical drama follows when Conrad and his entourage visit Kim’s hometown, much to the chagrin of her father and jealous boyfriend.
Portraying Conrad Birdie is our own Elvis doppelganger Cole, who had fans swooning during The Wick’s production of Million Dollar Quartet. Broadway star Jeremy Benton returns to our stage after a captivating run in Anything Goes, this time as Birdie’s manager Albert. And fellow Anything Goes alum, Alexandra Van Hasselt brings her stunning voice to the pivotal role of Kim. Leah Sessa who’s dazzled in numerous Wick productions brings her talent to the role of Rosie, Albert’s secretary. And Lourelene Snedeker, star of The Wick’s very first production, The Sound of Music, brings her inimitable style to the role of Mae Peterson and Dalia Aleman, another Wick favorite returns as Mrs. McAfee Making their Wick debuts are Ben Sandomir as Mr. McAfeeand Noah Weiss as Randolph McAfee. The epic musical also features an extraordinary ensemble and is directed by the legendary Norb Joerder, with musical direction by the award-winning Bobby Peaco, who returns after last year’s triumphant Cinderella, and choreography is by the multitalented Cat Pagano.
About the Cast:
Jeremy Benton* (Albert Peterson)Last seen at The Wick as Billy Crocker in Anything Goes! Recently: Pat Gilbert in R&H’s State Fair. Favorite performances include: Fred Astaire in the Off-Broadway’s Cheek to Cheek: Irving Berlin in Hollywood, Phil Davis – National Tour of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas (7 seasons), Bob Hope – Off Broadway’s Cagney (Astaire Award Nominee), Billy Lawlor – 42nd Street (Broadway-opposite Shirley Jones), Billy Crocker – National Tour of Anything Goes (opposite Rachel York), Kenneth Gibson – Call Me Madam (Lyric Theatre-opposite Beth Leavel), Bert – Mary Poppins (Nashville Rep), and Don Lockwood in Singin’ In The Rain (7 times), including at The Wick!
Leah Sessa (Rosie Alvarez) was last seen on the Wick stage playing Erma in Anything Goes. However, Wick Audiences may remember her best as Ado Annie from Oklahoma. Leah is a Carbonell and Silver Palm award recipient. Some credits include: Harlowe (Theatre Lab), Minister’s Wife, Kings (Gablestage) Dividing the Estate (Dramaworks), Groundhog Day, Heathers, Disaster (Slow Burn), Guys and Dolls, Spelling Bee, Disenchanted (MNM), One Man Two Guvnors (Actors Playhouse), The Unremarkable Death of Marilyn Monroe (Boca Stage)
Cole* (Conrad Birdie) In Las Vegas he portrayed Elvis and Johnny Cash in Million Dollar Quartet, at Harrah’s Casino for nearly 4 years. Cole went on to reprise those roles in multiple Million Dollar Quartet productions around the country, including at the Wick Theater. A recording artist and songwriter, Cole has performed his own music throughout the world. He is the youngest inductee into the International Rockabilly Hall of Fame. Cole received Broadway World’s “Best Actor in A Musical” as Elvis in Million Dollar Quartet. Most currently, Cole starred in the musical, Heartbreak Hotel In Concert and the electrifying Million Dollar Reunion. He is thrilled to be back at The Wick and making his Bye Bye Birdie debut as the beloved Conrad Birdie.
Alexandra Van Hasselt (Kim McAfee) thrilled to be back at The Wick, was recently nominated for a Carbonell Award as Margo Crawford in Bright Star at Actors’ Playhouse. Regional: The Wick: Anything Goes (Hope Harcourt), Mamma Mia! (Sophie cover- performed), Brigadoon (Jean), R+H’s Cinderella (Ella u/s), Gypsy (June u/s); Actors’ Playhouse: Carousel (Louise), Evita (Mistress u/s); Alhambra: The Music Man (Zaneeta); Broward Stage Door: La Cage…(Anne); MNM: Guys and Dolls (Sarah Brown u/s), Disenchanted! (Swing). M.A. in Arts Management from CSU.
Ben Sandomir* (Mr. McAfee is a proud alumni of Apple Dumpling nursery school and Florida Atlantic University. This is Ben’s first show at The Wick and his first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. Recent acting credits include: Dan Goodman in Next To Normal, Nick Bottom in Something Rotten (Carbonell nominated), Sweeney Todd in Sweeney Todd, and the world premiere of What a Wonderful World with Miami New Drama.
Lourelene Snedeker (Mae Peterson) A veteran award-winning actress, Lourelene is a recipient of 4 Carbonell Awards, A Curtain Up, a Silver Palm and a Lifetime Achievement Award. Her journey with the Wick began as the Mother Abbess in Sound of Music, then Mame opposite Leslie Uggums, Jerry’s Girls and Always, Patsy Cline. Recently, she has appeared as Princess Dragomiroff in Murder On The Orient Express (Actors Playhouse), Blonde Poison (Primal Forces) and The Thin Place/Grand Horizons (Boca Stage). She has starred opposite Len Cariou, Gregory Harrison, Evelyn Lear, David Holliday, Richard Kind and both “Hot Lips”, Sally Kellerman and Loretta Swit. Lourelene has also directed, taught in the Masters program at FAU, the Burt Reynolds Institute and coaches privately.
Dalia Aleman (Doris McAfee) is always happy to return to The Wick! Previous productions here include The Music Man, Crazy For You, and Man of La Mancha. Regional Theatre highlights: Latrelle in Sordid Lives (Artbuzz) Rosalie in #Graced (Zoetic), Bea Singer in Honeymoon in Vegas (Slow Burn),Randa in Savannah Sipping Society (Pigs Do Fly) Mother Superior in Sister Act (MNM), Victoria Grant in Victor Victoria and The Duchess in Nice Work If You Can Get It (Broward Stage Door).
Noah Weiss (Randolph McAfee) Bye Bye Birdie is his Wick Theatre debut. Previous credits: Oliver! at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre as Charley (Oliver u/s). He is a 7th grader at Bak Middle School of the Arts in the vocal program. Previous children’s theatre productions: PBA Children’s Theatre, The Maltz Conservatory, and French Woods Festival.
Norb Joerder (Director) His work can be seen from Broadway to regional theaters across America to European and International productions. He reunited Robert Goulet and Camelot for a critically acclaimed revival on Broadway and a record-breaking national tour. He also staged the Richard Harris International Camelot that toured Australia and Europe. In New York he has directed and choreographed revivals of 42nd Street, with Jerry Orbach and Tammy Grimes, La Cage Aux Folles with Gene Barry and LeRoy Reams, Gypsy with Lanie Kazan, Guys and Dolls with Vic Damone, The Music Man with John Schneider, Annie Get Your Gun with Andrea McArdle and My Fair Lady with Michael Moriarty. Regionally: Theatre Under The Stars in Houston, Texas, The Fifth Avenue Theatre in Seattle, Washington, the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia and Music Fair Productions in New York and Pennsylvania. Over 25 musicals for the Jupiter Theatre in Jupiter, Florida and for Richard Akins Productions. He received the Carbonell Award for Excellence in Theatre in southern Florida for which he was nominated over twelve times!
Bobby Peaco (Musical Director)In an interview with Playbill magazine, Jerry Herman(composer/lyricist of Hello Dolly, Mame, etc.) called Bobby Peaco “The best show pianist I have ever heard.” Bobby worked closely with Mr. Herman and appeared in his Off-Broadway revue Showtune. For his work in NYC cabaret and nightclubs, he has received 9 MAC awards and 3 Bistro awards, and has music directed, among many others, Broadway vets Julie Wilson, Terri White, and Emmy nominee Jackie Hoffman. With Ms. Hoffman, he composes music for her original songs, many of which can be heard on the CD Jackie Hoffman Live at Joe’s Pub. He is currently collaborating with Tony winner Faith Princeon several projects. Since moving here from NYC in 2019, Bobby has music directed and played for musicals and cabaret shows all over South Florida. Here at the Wick Theater, he’s appeared several times with Anthony Nunziata, Sharon Owens(as Barbra Streisand) and was the musical directed last season’s Cinderella.
With over 50 mainstage productions since its opening, The Wick Theatre attracts esteemed musical theater professionals, and welcomes stars of film, TV, Broadway and beyond, including Cindy Williams, Leslie Uggams, Andrea McArdle, Lee Roy Reams, and Sally Struthers, among others. These productions have not only been commercial successes, regularly selling out their runs, but also critical successes with dozens of Carbonell and Broadway World Awards nominations and wins. Run by self-made entrepreneur Marilynn Wick, The Wick also houses the Tavern at the Wick, a posh gourmet restaurant in the style of the famed Tavern on the Green in NYC, and the newly redesigned Museum Club.
The Museum Club (formerly The Costume Museum at the Wick Theatre), after having undergone a dramatic, high-tech transformation, will host special evening events featuring cocktail service at the new bar, gourmet dining, and nationally acclaimed acts on the venue’s cabaret stage. The completely renovated venue boasts 360-degree immersive video experiences, historic costume displays, and a sophisticated, glamorous vibe.
The Wick Theatre is located at 7901 N. Federal Highway. Boca Raton, Florida 33487