“Watch The Birdie” is a revue about the mixed blessings of contemporary family life which features original songs by Charles Gilbert and a book by Conrad Bishop and Elizabeth Fuller, the versatile writer-performers who are the founders of the nationally acclaimed theater company The Independent Eye, currently in residence in California. It was first performed at the Douglas Fairbanks Theater in New York and the Philadelphia Arts Bank Theater in the spring of 1998.
“Watch The Birdie” is adapted from material which has proven its worth in other settings. A cabaret revue of many of these songs, performed by the composer along with actors D’Arcy Webb and Gary Pagano, was enthusiatically received when it was performed in New York, Philadelphia and Delaware in 1993 and 1994; Douglas Keating of The Philadelphia Inquirer praised those songs for their “biting, insightful lyrics.” The sketches are selected from over 60 short scenes which The Independent Eye produced for radio under the title “Family Snapshots” which were aired by NPR stations across the country. Although the songs and the scenes had separate origins, combining them in this new revue has resulted in a synergy which intensifies the warmth, humor and poignancy of the subject. The piece has a diversity of characters, styles and situations which would give any ensemble of musical theater performers a terrific opportunity to demonstrate their versatility and dramatic range.
Songs from “Watch The Birdie” featured in Project 194 blog posts:
Get The Picture | Hi, Mom | Baby Talk | The Maternity Drag | Re: Birth | Hit Me! | Bless This Meal
I Don’t Get Angry | The Lady In Daddy’s Pajamas | Don’t Look At Me! | I Can’t Change The Channel | How Do You Know?
A revised version of “Watch the Birdie” was produced by Philly Music Theater Works at the Walnut Street Theater Studio 3 in 2011, in a production directed by PMTW Artistic Director Jeremiah Downes and music directed by Chris Ertelt. The video playlist below features four songs from that production, and the performers are Jason Michael, Michael Doherty, Alex Keiper and Claudia Carlsson.