Menlo Atherton High School

Andrea Gaini portrays Conrad Birdie in M-A production of Bye Bye Birdie

People of a certain age know all about the inspiration for Conrad Birdie, the hip-thrusting rock and roll superstar who gets drafted into the Army in the musical Bye Bye Birdie, which debuted on Broadway in 1960 and won a Tony Award for best musical in 1961. It was, of course, Elvis Presley, which leads us to this question: How can a young actor relate to that today?

We came seeking an answer from Andrea Gaini, who plays Conrad Birdie in Menlo-Atherton High School’s winter drama production which premieres at 7:30 tonight at the Performing Arts Center.

Explains the senior who hails from “just outside Florence” Italy: “I had heard of Elvis Presley, but I’d never heard any of his music. Once I got the part, I started researching and really got into his songs. I’ve grown to like him a lot. He was both charismatic and polite. Elvis has really become a part of me.”

Bye Bye Birdie posterAndrea admits he’s a bit surprised to be in a musical. He played water polo in Italy, and when he came to M-A as a foreign exchange student this past fall, he played on the M-A team. “Some of my friends were encouraging me to try out for the play, but the auditions were during CCS [water polo playoffs],” says Andrea. “I kind of made a pact with myself. If the team got to the semi-finals, I’d just concentrate on water polo. But if we lost, I’d audition. The big surprise is that we lost the first game against a team we were supposed to beat.”

When he returns to Italy, Andrea thinks he may pursue drama over water polo. “That I got this role and am really, really enjoying it may end up being an important turning point in my life,” he says.

One thing we couldn’t help but notice was Andrea’s Conrad/Elvis style hair, which we presumed he’d grown for the part. We were wrong. “This is how I’ve always had it” was his reply. We’re guessing he’s been channeling 50s American rock and roll longer than he realizes!

There will be five performances of Bye Bye Birdie, all at 7:30 pm. In addition to tonight, the musical will be performed on Saturday, Feb. 28, and then March 5-7. Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for students/seniors. They can be purchased at the box office one hour before curtain or online.

Green screen photo of Andrea Gaini/Conrad Birdie by M-A students Elana Schulman and Sally Stevens; poster design/photographer also by M-A digital arts students

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Stedman Graham visits Menlo-Atherton High School

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Bestselling author, educator and entrepreneur Stedman Graham kicked off his day at Menlo-Atherton High School this morning with an inspiring interactive session for staff and community members at the school’s Performing Arts Center. He returned later, along with Justin Tuck and Caroline Jones, to present their mission to the students. Graham is a part of the Sonima […]

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M-A senior Andre Benz creates YouTube channel featuring Trap music

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Rather than merely enjoying music in his spare time, Menlo-Atherton High School senior Andre Benz has chosen to pursue his passion, leading him to create a now-trending YouTube channel. In 2012, his channel, Trap Nation, made its debut, and has since accrued nearly 800,000 subscribers. “In middle school, I was pretty antisocial, so I played a […]

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M-A Bears play for Girls Varsity Basketball PAL championship title tonight

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Editor’s note: The M-A girls won tonight 54-42. For the first time since 2008, the Menlo-Atherton Varsity Girls basketball team will be playing tonight for the Peninsula Athletic League (PAL) championship title. Game time is scheduled for 6:00 pm on February 21 at Mills High School in Millbrae. The M-A Bears took the PAL South […]

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M-A Co-Prinicipal Simone Kennel draws on her experience growing up in South Africa

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When she was nine, Simone Kennel and her family waved goodbye to a life many of us could never imagine — living under Apartheid. Though she’s spent the majority of her life in the United States, her original experiences in South Africa have remained an integral part of who she is and how she works. The […]

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M-A teacher Chris Rubin appears on Wheel of Fortune with his brother Josh

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Chris Rubin, a Menlo-Atherton High School teacher and alum, and his brother and fellow M-A grad, Josh Rubin, who teaches a Woodside High School, were contestants on Wheel of Fortune last month. Upon request from his brother, Chris (left in photos) filled out an online application for the show. He explained: “It was totally random. He [Josh] probably […]

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M-A freshman participates in state science fair showcasing his safe flight simulator program

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Some students spend their free time playing sports, reading, watching TV, or any number of relaxing activities. Others, however, such as Menlo-Atherton High School freshman Patrick Kao, spend their free time designing a space flight simulator program. Early in September, Kao was a semifinalist at Broadcom MASTERS, an exclusive state science fair. MASTERS requires its competitors to […]

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M-A surpasses canned food drive goal, breaks records

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This year M-A broke records by raising just over 201,475 can, exceeding the Canned Food Drive goal of 200,000 cans, which “was set to be outrageous,” notes leadership teachers Jonathan Senigaglia and Mike Amoroso. “I’m really proud of the school. People sometimes say that M-A doesn’t have a lot of spirit, but I point to […]

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In memory of Menlo-Atherton High School grad Michael Rosenberg

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Sometimes InMenlo turns personal. That was the case yesterday when we received a request from a Raleigh, NC, television station asking permission to use an InMenlo photo that Scott R. Kline had taken of Michael Rosenberg who had died in a plane crash earlier in the day. Michael was not a routine InMenlo interviewee. We […]

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To find out what’s happening at M-A, check out the twice weekly M-A Today

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There was a steady buzz the Tuesday morning we visited John Giambruno’s TV Communication and Production class on the Menlo-Atherton High School campus. Half the class was preparing to air a live show called M-A Today. The other half was working on Friday’s show. Both air on highschoolCUBE. And while, yes, they are high school students, […]

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M-A varsity volleyball captain is heading to UCSB

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Devin Joos, Senior and Captain of the Menl0-Atherton High School Varsity Volleyball team signed a letter of intent to attend UCSB on November 12th. She and her teammates will be playing in the first game of the CCS play offs this Saturday,  at 7:00 pm on the high school campus.

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