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Local Musical Comedy Packs Them In

Photo: QueensPost

July 31, 2012 By Pat Dorfman

“Bye Bye Birdie,” a Unity Stage Company production that is set in 1958, finished its four-day run Sunday night at Sunnyside’s Queen of Angels Auditorium, after inclement weather forced a hurried move from the courtyard of All Saints Church.

The performances had no shortage of audience members despite a rain storm on opening night. The crowd on Sunday laughed and hooted appreciatively throughout the performance and gave a standing ovation during final bows.

“Put on a Happy Face” and “Kids” (“What’s the matter with kids today?”) were among the hits sung and danced by a full company of energetic actors. The cast included many Sunnyside and Woodside children.

The story features Conrad Birdie, a callow seducer and Elvis Presley-type idol, visiting a small town as a publicity stunt on his way into the armed forces.

The swooning teens and irritated adults form the backdrop for the more prominent tale of the long-suffering secretary/fiancée of the idol’s manager. She chafes at the manager’s long overdue wedding proposal and his ties to his diabolically domineering mother. The performance of Erin Rubico as the secretary, particularly her dancing in “Spanish Rose,” was a standout.

Director/choreographer Andrew Haserlat excelled with witty touches. The show moved along surprisingly briskly, and featured a raucous live band and fast-moving sets made of rolling risers. Haserlat, Musical Director Mitchell Raftery, Sound Engineer Craig Ryan Freeman, and Stage Manager Craig Rosenthal created a smoother and more professional show than one would expect in a local auditorium.

The production was an Equity Showcase, which means as low-cost production, there were certain legal restrictions to protect the actors. But Unity Stage Company Executive Director and show producer Sofia Landon Geier, who oversaw the production from the beginning, managed to make a little go a long way.

Dorothy Morehead, Sunnyside real estate broker, who notes she attends Broadway and regional theater several times a year, said, “I loved it. That was really terrific.”

Andrew Haserlat, Sofia Geier, Dorothy Morehead, Dan Glasser

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Deniz — the answer to your question is “no.” Each website or publication has its own calendar. There is no one place where you can reliably go to get info on ALL that is happening in the neighborhood.
For one thing — there’s a lot going on, which is good.
I’d suggest checking out the websites of our arts organizations once a month or so. That should keep you “in the know.”
@King of Queens — I used to feel the same way about musical comedies when I was starting out in the business, lol. “Bye Bye Birdie” is the first musical comedy Unity Stage has produced under the Equity Showcase agreement. We do a variety of work. I hope we’ll see you at a performance soon.

Sofia Landon Geier, Producing Artistic Director
Unity Stage Company


Backlash – then let me rephrase my comment: is there anywhere online where there is a comprehensive calendar of events for the Sunnyside Woodside area? Regards –


Hey King Of Queens, I’m sure they think just as highly of you and thank you for not showing up.


Deniz, Marylin:

There had been flyers up on store fronts and telephone poles for months.


For more info check out UNITYSTAGE.ORG or Director/Choreographer Andrew Haserlat’s website ANDREWHASERLAT.COM

Preschool Teacher

Excellent production!! We are lucky to have such Broadway caliber actors performing in our community!!


Marilyn, I suggest you “like” Unity Stage Company on Facebook so you don’t ever have to miss out on one of their productions again 🙂


Sounds like a fun event, it would have been nice if I knew about it earlier so that I could have attended.


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