The legendary tunes of Elvis, together with the enduring storytelling style of Shakespeare, bring “All Shook Up” to the stage at CenterPoint Legacy Theatre beginning Monday, July 9.
The 2005 Broadway musical follows a modern-day version of Shakespeare’s comedy “Twelfth Night,” with love triangles, mistaken identities, clever scripting and happy endings.
A collection of Elvis’ most acclaimed songs is neatly wound into the story, including “Jailhouse Rock,” “Hound Dog,” “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Love Me Tender” and “Can’t Help Falling in Love.”
Director Jansen Davis of Bountiful said he has been directing community theater productions for more than 25 years, but had not seen this particular show before he was asked to direct it.
Calling it an “interesting hodgepodge” that has been fun for him to work with, Davis said, “Everybody will recognize the music.”
Actress Shae Wilson, of Ogden, agreed: “Everybody knows Elvis’ music.” Wilson was attracted to the show because she knew her parents would enjoy the songs, which have a popularity that spans generations.
The Weber State University musical theater student was also unfamiliar with the show, but liked that it followed a Shakespeare play, a genre she loves. Wilson is playing the part of Sylvia, a spinster who runs the bar where locals hang out in the center of a Midwestern small town in the 1950s.
Things are pretty quiet for the townspeople, especially since the strict mayor has outlawed tight pants, public kissing and loud music. That is, until Chad shows up on his motorcycle, guitar in tow, to shake things up with his hip-swiveling dance moves.
Luke Monday, a Weber State University musical theater student, is excited to play the role of Chad, saying it is the biggest part he has received so far in his acting career. Monday began acting at the age of 17 and instantly knew it was what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. By day, he works as a musical performer at Lagoon.
“My strongest point is my voice and Chad sings a lot in the show,” Monday said. “... There is not a dull moment as far as the musical numbers go.”
Natalie, a mechanic played by Madison Hanson of Centerville, instantly falls for the rebel Chad, who fuels her long-held dreams of moving out of town in pursuit of new adventures.
Hanson has long been a fan of this particular musical and said Natalie is one of her dream roles. She described the character as a people-pleaser who decides to follow her own dreams and listen to her heart.
“While I have been figuring out where Natalie is going in the show, I’ve also been figuring out my life and the dreams I want to follow. It has helped me to realize that I have to do what is going to make me happy instead of being a people-pleaser,” Hanson said.
Hanson, a nursing student at the University of Utah, said this is her first show with CenterPoint. She auditioned for a play in the ninth grade on a whim and said she was instantly hooked on theater. “I’ve never looked back,” she said.
She thinks audiences will enjoy the show because it is fun and upbeat, but she believes it also has a deeper meaning.
The message, says Wilson, is that love can come in all different shapes and sizes: “Sometimes it is the opposite of what you expected. It can sneak up on you,” she said.
Austin Singley, of Clearfield, plays Dennis, the boy next door who is hopelessly in love with Natalie.
When he isn’t acting for theater, Singley can be found onstage performing magic or in the arena as a rodeo clown.
“I love ‘All Shook Up,’ ” Singley said. “It has lots of silly comedy and the show’s arrangement of the music is amazing, as well as the choreography, which is a lot of fun.”
He said audiences can expect lots of high-energy dancing and tight harmonies as cast members belt out Elvis tunes and find love in unexpected places.