Elvis and teens: Musical gets ‘All Shook Up’

By MIKE CHAIKEN

EDITIONS EDITOR

The king of rock and roll, Elvis Presley, is all over the jukebox musical, “All Shook Up,” which is being performed by Bristol Eastern High School’s theater program next week.

The jukebox musical that weaves the music of Elvis and the 1950s is about “a square little town in a square little state (when in) rides a guitar-playing young man 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,’” according to the show’s publisher.

Anna Korpanty, who plays Lorraine in the BEHS production, said, “As an Elvis Presley fan, I was familiar with a majority of the music prior to the show. It is quite interesting to see how the music has been altered for musical theater, yet it still holds onto the essence of Elvis that is so important in order to effectively perform his pieces.”

Maura McCormick, who plays Natalie, said, “My grandmother grew up on Elvis. I remember listening to it after she picked me up from school, so being reunited with the music brings back many pleasant memories. I absolutely love how vibrant, lively, and fun the songs are. They make you feel like you just need to get up and dance — and I’m not just saying this because I’m a thespian.”

Logan Zdun, who plays Dean Hyde, said, “Before the show, I was not familiar with the music. I do recall the song ‘C’mon Everybody,’ because it was a number I performed in another show I was in years ago.”

However, Logan said, “After performing all the songs through out the show. I could see why they were such a hit. Whenever I listen to the songs, I feel my energy go up. I’ve been playing the album non-stop.”

“After singing the songs,” said Logan. “I can also see why my great grandparents and grandparents were obsessed with them.”

“Elvis brought something that no other artist had really brought to the music industry before, this spunk and rebellious nature that the public wasn’t really exposed yet,” said Anna. “Although current artists may impersonate this same mood well, no one can beat the King. His music transcends time, so I definitely think that even people today, if really exposed to his music, would still find it cool.”

“Elvis really defied the social norms,” said Maura. “His music, moves and aesthetic were fresh, different, and fun. He truly left people ‘All Shook Up’ and hungry for change. There’s something to appreciate in that.”

“Even though the show takes place in the 1950s,” said Logan, “I feel like it’s very relatable for the average teenager.”

“It was the period of teenage discovery,” said Logan. “They felt like nothing could stop them.”

“And if we look at the world today, we see teens are becoming leaders for the America public.” Logan said, ““The only difference I see between the generations is that teenagers were less obsessed with likes and comments in the 1950s, since there were no phones.”

Anna said, ““The drab mood at the beginning of the play begs similarities to the inside of a high school. Honestly, when we first began rehearsal and Mrs. (Lisa) Carroll said to ‘act sad and down,’ it seemed almost natural. Chad represents this bright spirit, this idea of joy and fun that people today often try to shy away from because we’re often afraid to express that side of ourselves.”

“I think ‘All Shook Up’ proves that it’s okay to break social norms and ultimately support what you believe in,” said Maura. “Through our media and technology today, conformity is normalized…. However, just like the characters in ‘All Shook Up,’ with courage, purpose, and perseverance, we have the power to make a change for future generations.”

Anna said people will like the show because “it’s a cute, upbeat high school show that features some of the most talented people we hold in our theater department. If they look a little deeper, though, they’ll see something more. There are these little pockets of humor and genuine human lessons buried within this show, and if the audience really watches, they’ll appreciate this show for so much more than it portrays on the surface.”

“I feel as if though my peers will like the show and they will find some parts relatable, from heart felt moments of being lonely to energetic vibes,” said Logan.

“This show has truly been so much fun to participate in,” said Maura. “I know for a fact, that it’ll be just as exciting for our… audience…

Older audiences will enjoy the show, said Anna because “I think being able to listen to some songs they may have enjoyed when they were younger will give them a sense of nostalgia. Also, seeing students celebrating the glory that Elvis was will show them our generation really does understand how huge of an influence he was and continues to be.”

“I also think older audiences will love the show because it’s a mini flashback to their past,” said Logan. “Plus I mean who doesn’t love Elvis ?

“All Shook Up” will be performed at Bristol Eastern High School, King Street, Bristol Thursday through Saturday, May 3 to 5 at 7 p.m. with one matinee at 2 p.m. on May 5 as well.

PHOTOS by JANELLE MORELLI