When it was announced that Jennifer Lopez would star in and produce ‘Bye Bye Birdie Live!’ for NBC, the first actor to throw his name in the hat came when Rikki Lee Travolta voiced his interest in the role of Conrad Birdie – an Elvis-like crooner.
Travolta has amassed an impressive list of live theater credits. In addition to portraying Conrad Birdie in ‘Bye Bye Birdie’, Travolta has appeared around the country in starring roles in ‘West Side Story’, ‘Grease’, ‘Rent’, and ‘Camelot.’ Dramatic roles include ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ and ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.’
In addition, Travolta was the first celebrity guest star in the ‘Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding’ stage franchise. In 2005 he was announced alongside Donny Osmond and Patrick Cassidy as one of the Top 3 Headliners in the World for the Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice musical ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.’ He also has released two albums and three books.
Travolta’s live theater credentials lend well to the nature of a live ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ television production, proving he can deliver the goods in a live setting.
Travolta could be an ideal actor to star opposite JLo. He has the heartthrob looks and rock ‘n roll voice to bring Conrad Birdie into living rooms throughout the world. One would hope that he attracts the interests of executive producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan.
The fact that Conrad Birdie is a role inspired by real life rock ‘n roll icon Elvis Presley plays into Travolta’s favor. His previous performances in the role earned him honorary induction into the Amateur Association of Elvis Impersonators for the authenticity he brings to the ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ central character.