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Stark’s life mimics role in musical

Just like the character she plays in “Bye Bye Birdie,” Mary Rose Stark will be spending her summer singing and dancing.

The 16-year-old plays Margie, one of the teens who reside in Sweet Apple, Ohio, in Super Summer Theatre’s musical production that opens Wednesday at Spring Mountain Ranch State Park.

The musical tells the story of a rock star, idolized by teens, who travels to a small town in Ohio for a televised farewell performance and to kiss his biggest fan before he is drafted.

Stark said she has been a fan of Super Summer Theatre for several years and has been checking its program of upcoming shows for the past few summers.

When she saw “Bye Bye Birdie” on the schedule for this summer, she said she knew she had to audition.

“It has a lot of teens and I knew the choreographer so it made me a lot less nervous,” she said.

Stark has worked with choreographer Greg Kata as part of his competition team and vocal group, On With the Show.

“I have known Mary Rose for many years now, as both a voice and dance teacher,” he said. “It is so great to be reunited with her now, more grown up, and in a full production musical at Super Summer Theatre.”

Director Troy Heard said Stark was a sure bet for the musical.

“When we decided to do ‘Birdie’ we knew we wanted a large ensemble of triple-threat teens who’d go gaga over Conrad Birdie — the Justin Bieber of the ’50s. Mary Rose showed up at auditions and was a shoo-in for a role. Not only is she a terrific singer and dancer, she has a very period look, like she stepped out of an Annette Funicello movie,” he said.

Stark started rehearsing for the show in May, with the cast meeting five or six times a week, usually in the afternoons so she still had time to complete all her homework and class assignments.

Next week, the ensemble moves from its workshop to Spring Mountain Ranch for rehearsals and to become acquainted with the stage.

Although this will be her first musical theater production, Stark said she hopes it is not her last.

“Being in ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ is a great start to the year and hopefully what I will do for the rest of my life,” said Stark, a junior who just added musical theater to her choir major at Las Vegas Academy of the Arts. “It’s a great show. It has something for everyone.”

Both Kata and Heard said Stark has what it takes to succeed in the business.

“She had a very humble attitude and strong work ethic. I can see her going far in this career,” Heard said.

“She is a joy to work with and has a very bright future ahead of her,” added Kata.

Calling herself a very “artsy” person, Stark has been singing in choirs and dancing for nearly as long as she can remember.

“Performing is what I’ve always done.”

The daughter of Susan and Duncan Stark of Boulder City said she got her first big break as part of talent show at King Elementary School when she was in fifth grade. It was her first time performing for a crowd.

“I fell in love with being on stage.”

She said she has been a fan of musicals since before she started school. She “grew up on” the musical “Cats” and would often mimic her favorite character, Victoria the White Cat.

Stark already has her sights set on two of next year’s Super Summer Theatre productions, “Beauty and the Beast” and “Bring It On.” She said “Home” from “Beauty and the Beast” is one of her favorite audition pieces. Also, Heard will be directing “Bring It On” and she enjoyed working with him.

After graduating from high school, Stark said she hopes to move to a big city like New York or Chicago where “musical theater is big.”

She said her parents are very supportive of her activities, telling her she has a gift that she needs to use.

Stark said she also hopes to convince her father to audition with her for next summer’s shows. She said he did musical theater shows when he was younger and living in California.

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Best Bets, March 9-15

1 READY TO ROCK: The Rock, Roll & Stroll fundraiser for the Senior Center of Boulder City’s Meals on Wheels program will be presented from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday in Bicentennial Park, 999 Colorado St. The fifth annual event will include a car show, games, food and music by DJ Mike Pacini. For more information, call 702-293-3320.

Best Bets, March 2-8

1 MUSIC MAKER: Singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Ted Sablay will perform at the Boulder Dam Brewing Company from 7-10 Saturday night. A native of Wisconsin, Sablay now calls Las Vegas home. He has spent much of the past 20 years as a touring member and regular collaborator with The Killers. He debuted his first album as a solo artist in 2022. The Brewpub is at 453 Nevada Way. Call 702-243-2739 or visit www.boulderdambrewing.com for more information.

Best Bets, Feb. 23-March 1

1 FANTASTIC THEATER: The Young Hearts Theater Group, sponsored by Boulder City United Methodist Church, will present C.S. Lewis’ classic fantasy tale “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” at 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Elaine K. Smith Building, 700 Wyoming St. Admission is free.

Best Bets, Feb. 16-22

1 MORE MOVIES: The Dam Short Film Festival returns for its 19th incarnation and with in-person screenings, but at a new location. Scheduled Thursday through Monday at the Elaine K. Smith Building, 700 Wyoming St., the festival will screen 153 short films in about 30 programs. Tickets are $12.50 per program, $45 for a full-day pass and $150 for an event pass. Visit www.damshortfilm.org for more information.

Best Bets, Feb. 9-15

1 RED CARPET READY: Celebrity couples will be roaming the streets downtown Saturday as the Best Dam Wine Walk hosts its monthly event. Scheduled from 4-8 p.m., with check-in through 6:30 at My 4 Sons Comic Cards, 1308 Wyoming St., the wine walk provides an opportunity to visit local businesses, often after their regular hours. Admission is $25 per person, plus Eventbrite fees, in advance or $30 at check-in.

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