Bye Bye Birdie (film) - Differences From Stage Musical

Differences From Stage Musical

Several significant changes were made in the plot and character relationships in the film from the stage version. The film was rewritten to showcase the talents of rising star Ann-Margret, adding the title song for her and dropping songs by other characters.

The name of the character Rosie Alvarez was changed to Rosie DeLeon. In both versions the character is a positive portrayal of a Latina; however, the song "Spanish Rose", originally performed in the stage musical by Chita Rivera in a comic, exaggerated Hispanic style to irritate Albert's mother, was dropped for this film.

In the film, Albert is not Birdie's agent nor an aspiring English teacher but a talented research chemist. He contributed to Birdie's initial success, and therefore Birdie "owes" him a favor. Albert has not written "One Last Kiss" when Rosie pitches the idea to Sullivan.

The film version of "A Lot Of Livin' To Do" features Pearson, Ann-Margret and Rydell in a colorful song-and-dance number that is staged to suggest that Kim and Hugo are trying to make each other jealous, but there is no suggestion during the number or after it that any under-age drinking or sexual activity is going on.

The songs "Baby, Talk to Me", "What Did I Ever See in Him", and "A Healthy, Normal American Boy" were omitted from the film, as was the "How to Kill a Man" ballet.

The plot structure is altered so that The Ed Sullivan Show broadcast is at the end of the movie; in the stage musical, it is at the closing of the first act. The film version also ends on a brighter note. Hugo prevents the "last kiss" by running out on stage, knocking Birdie out with a single punch on The Ed Sullivan Show. In doing so, he wins Kim's heart, and the young couple is reunited. There is no suggestion that Conrad got tired of show business, or that he suffered anything other than the embarrassment of being knocked out before an audience of millions of viewers. Albert's mother shows up with a man in tow, informs Albert and Rosie that she has married him, and gives Albert and Rosie her blessing for their long-postponed wedding. Albert and Mr. McAfee agree to become partners selling Albert's chemical formulas. The film then ends with Ann-Margret singing a slightly revised version of the title song: "Bye Bye Birdie, the Army's got you now...."

Read more about this topic:  Bye Bye Birdie (film)

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