‘Bye Bye Birdie Live!’ Signs Jerry Mitchell and Alex Rudzinski to Direct

Bye Bye Birdie Live Directors Announced
Jerry Mitchell, Kenny Leon, and Alex Rudzinski on the set of ‘Hairspray Live’ (Photo Courtesy of NBC)

Jerry Mitchell has come on board as the stage director and Alex Rudzinski will be the live television director of NBC’s live musical event, Bye Bye Birdie Live!. Jennifer Lopez was previously confirmed to star and executive produce the 2017 live holiday musical. Tony Award-winner Harvey Fierstein (Torch Song Trilogy) is writing the teleplay, with Rudzinski, Neil Meron, Craig Zadan, Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, and Benny Medina executive producing.

“It’s a joy to work with Jerry Mitchell and Alex Rudzinski again after their incredible partnership on Hairspray Live!, which elevated our live musicals to a new height,” stated Robert Greenblatt, Chairman, NBC Entertainment. “Jerry is the cream of the crop of Broadway director/choreographers with two hits running on Broadway right now, and Alex is peerless in the world of live television direction.”

Jerry Mitchell won Tonys for choreographing 2013’s Kinky Boots and 2009’s La Cage Aux Folles. He directed Kinky Boots, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and Legally Blonde, and is currently on Broadway directing Gloria Estefan’s bio-musical, On Your Feet.

Alex Rudzinski will be directing NBC’s dance competition series World of Dance featuring Jennifer Lopez, Derek Hough and NE-YO as judges and Jenna Dewan Tatum as host. Rudzinski earned a Directors Guild nomination for Hairspray Live! and won two Emmy Awards for his work on Fox’s Grease Live!.

The Plot: Set at the height of rock ’n’ roll, Bye Bye Birdie Live! takes us to Sweet Apple, Ohio, where hip-thrusting music heartthrob Conrad Birdie is scheduled to give a lucky Sweet Apple lady “One Last Kiss” before being drafted into the Army. Conrad’s rock ’n’ roll ways send the small town reeling, giving the teens Birdie fever, shocking the parents with moral indignation, and placing songwriter/agent Albert Peterson along with his savvy sweetheart, Rosie, right in the thick of things. The story was inspired by the incredible popularity of Elvis Presley and his induction into the Army in 1957.