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All Shook Up

a Musical Comedy
CATEGORY : COMEDY MUSICAL
by Book by Joe DiPietro, inspired by and featuring the songs of Elvis Presley

COMPANY : Act 3 Productions [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Act 3 Playhouse [WEBSITE]
ID# 3934

SHOWING : March 03, 2011 - March 13, 2011

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

Inspired by and featuring the songs of Elvis Presley. Into a square little town in a square little state rides a guitar-playing roustabout who changes everything and everyone he meets in this hip-swiveling, lip-curling musical fantasy that'll have you jumpin' out of your blue suede shoes with such classics as "Heartbreak Hotel," "Jailhouse Rock," and "Don't Be Cruel."


CAST & CREW LIST
Sound Technician Hayley Tanner
Ensemble Rachel All
Chad Joe Arnotti
Ensemble Matt Baum
Sylvia Rosemary Blankson
Sandra Erin Deeble
Ensemble Brad Dickey
Matilda Jennifer Loudermilk
Ensemble Quintez Rashad
Dean Marcus Rodriguez
Earl Joel Rose
Ensemble Daniel Clay Sasser
Jim John Stanier
Ensemble Lindsay Via
Ensemble Declan Wagar
Lorraine Krystal Camille White
Ensemble Kameeka Williams
Ensemble Brian Wittenberg
Ensemble Dawn Zachariah
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production
REVIEWS

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The King has Left the Perimeter
by Dedalus
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
4.0
What is it about “Twelfth Night” and musicians with regal nicknames? In 1997, “Play On!” set the Bardic classic in 1920’s Harlem, with the music of Duke Ellington driving the plot. Now, that the Duke has had his day, it’s the King’s turn, as “All Shook Up” collects a bevy of Elvis Presley classics and puts them into a plot that is as much “Footloose” as it is “Twelfth Night.”

It’s “A small you-never-heard-of-it town somewhere in the Midwest” and it’s the summer of ’55. Public dancing and smooching has been banned by the Mayor. Dennis is going off to dental school, and has too little time to break his shell and confess his feelings for garage grease-girl Natalie. Into town rides roustabout Chad and Natalie is smitten. Faster than you can say “Is this really Illyria OH?”, Natalie is disguised as a man, Chad is chasing Miss Sandra (the Shakespeare-spoutin’ museum head), and Miss Sandra is chasing Ed, who, of course, is really Natalie in disguise. And don’t get me started on local hangout owner Sylvia, her daughter, the mayor’s son, and Natalie’s widowed father. Needless to say, most everyone is soon singing “Can’t Help Falling in Love” to someone who is in love with someone else.

“All Shook Up” opened a few years ago for a short Broadway run to almost universal pans. Written off as another “big-budget juke box musical” designed solely for the tourist crowd, it has since found new life in small regional theatres. Maybe what was needed was an intimate space, a small budget, and a young cast, but I found the whole thing delightfully diverting and disarmingly unpretentious. The ensemble throws their collective heart into the songs, most of which were one-time favorites of mine, and the whole thing whizzes by faster than a Harley on steroids.

Sure, sometimes the story groans a bit trying to make the songs work within the plot, but other times, it throws new overtones onto old favorites. In addition to the sublimely ironic “Can’t Help Falling in Love” I already cited, I liked how the story took “Now or Never” (not one of my favorites) and made it not only more politically correct but sweetly sincere (a couple is being separated by a long bus-ride to a military academy).

Sure the 21st-century attitudes towards homosexuality and interracial coupling seem out of place in a summer-of-’55 time-frame, but that’s part of the joke, part of the many pleasures to be had from this joyful production. It’s like taking a wallow in nostalgia without giving up your modern mind-set.

As to the cast, I really liked Joe Arnotti’s almost-Elvis performance as Chad, Suzy Babb’s spunky and aggressive Natalie, and Jennifer Loudermilk’s stone-cold-Mayor-with-a-heart-of-mush. As Sylvia, Rosemary Blankson has a voice that shakes the rafters, and Krystal Camille White and Marcus Rodriguez glow as the one couple who actually find each other right away and stay true to each other throughout. In fact, the large ensemble works together like a dream.

The set was drastically simple, a bare stage with a few platforms and silhouette-projections setting each scene. The costumes were period specific, and often were jokes themselves (I liked how a few grapes on a statue/dancer’s fig leaf made it seem more obscene than what the fig leaf was trying to cover).

Unfortunately, I saw the final performance of this production (Elvis has indeed left the perimeter), but that’s all right! At least I had the pleasure of spending a couple of hours with a large and talented cast telling a comfortably-familiar story with a malt-shop full of juke box selections, all of which I couldn’t help falling in love with.

-- Brad Rudy (BK Rudy@aol.com)


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Such a wonderful show to watch
by CM
Sunday, March 13, 2011
4.5
I just was the last performance of "All Shook Up" at Act 3 Productions and all I can say is WOW! I have never been to this theater before and was a bit skeptical when we walked into the small black box ... but the minute the music started I was sold. The cast did an amazing job (34 people in all) and all of them should be commended. The music was great, the acting was strong and comic, and the energy was boundless. I'm not going to call it a perfect show ... but at this performance, the audience was blown away (clapped and cheered all the way through}.
The show is all sorts of Elvis Presley songs used to tell the story of folks looking for love in a small town in the 50s. All your favorite hits are there.
The main character is Chad (played wonderfully by Joe Arnotti) who is a motorcycle rebel who stirs up trouble when he rides into town. Natalie, the town's female mechanic (played by Suzy Babb) falls head over heels for Chad but he falls for Sandra, the museum owner (played by Erin Deeble). You also have a local guy in love with Natalie, Dennis (played by Christopher Grider), Natalie's widowed father Jim who is also in love with Sandra (played by John Stanier) and local bar owner Sylvia who is in love with Jim (played by Rosemary Blankson). There is an uptight mayor (played by Jennifer Loudermilk) and a silent sheriff (played by Joel Rose). Everyone is falling in love with everyone and you don;t know who is going to end up with who until the very end.
My favorite parts of the show were:
Jailhouse Rock - This was the opening number with lots of dance and energy to start the show off right. Joe Arnotti was great and such a rebel.
Don't Be Cruel - Chad teaches Jim to be cool. Very funny number that even got the audience involved. John Stanier was so funny trying to be cool.
There's Always Me - Sylvia opens her heart to Jim. Rosemary Blankson has a beautiful voice and the audience broke out in applause half way through the number. She is a star!
Again, the whole show was very well done. I was particularly impressed with the fact that this very small theater had an 8 member orchestra (sounded amazing, but took up a lot of room so the stage was not really large enough for the huge cast.) The costumes were very colorful (and plentiful).
The lights were not enough at some points and some scenes felt too dark.
Accolades to all involved!
Special Recognition to:
Joe Arnotti - funny guy, great dancer, good voice for Elvis songs.
Rosemary Blankson - amazing voice, some great one liners, very convincing.
Christopher Grider - beautiful singing voice.
John Stanier - hysterical actor, strong voice, we really felt for him.
Jennifer Loudermilk - pretty voice, the kind of actress you love to hate.
We will definitely go back to Act 3 Productions for shows in the future!
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