The Stars Shone Bright

“The Showcase of Stars” that rang down the curtain last month on the summer music-theatre career of 90-year-old Dudley Birder featured music-theatre alumni returning to play scenes from favorite shows over the past 55 years.

The July 19-22 revue was directed by Dudley’s children James and Alicia Birder with Kent Paulsen (Music) serving as music director. Dudley himself organized and arranged the music, in addition to serving as narrator.

The revue covered scenes from summer-theatre musical favorites like “Annie,” “Beauty & the Beast,” “Oklahoma!,” “Les Misérables,” “Man of La Mancha,” “The King & I,” “The Music Man,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” “The Sound of Music,” “Guys & Dolls,” “West Side Story,” “Nunsense” and “Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”

A piece of music history

Birder founded summer music theatre at St. Norbert in 1962 and has served as producer, director and/or musical director for all of the 89 musicals presented since that time. Although stepping away from music theatre after this summer’s season, he will continue to direct the Dudley Birder Chorale at St. Norbert College, which he founded in 1974. Birder turned 90 on March 23.

Summer music theatre will continue at St. Norbert College after Birder’s run ends this summer. The college is working enthusiastically on how the program's next chapter will take shape.

Aug. 1, 2017