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Review

All Shook Up
by Spotlight Youth Theatre

THE SHOW:  

Inspired by and featuring the songs of Elvis Presley, Book by Joe DiPietro.  

Natalie, a small-town second-generation grease monkey, dreams of a hunk a hunk of Burning Love, and gets All Shook Up when motorcycle Roustabout Chad rumbles in, shaking the sleepy town down to its pelvis. Yes, it’s the jukebox musical featuring the singular sound of Elvis. The story, based on William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, is set in a small 1950s Midwest town where lonely people Can’t Help Falling in Love, even if that means challenging the status quo on interracial couples or, in Natalie’s case, doing a little cross-dressing to become Chad’s new male sidekick named Ed.  

THE PRODUCTION:  

Mark and Lynzee 4Man direct this blast of exceptional dancing and musical comedy at Spotlight Youth Theatre featuring an all-star cast. The story plays out against the backdrop of Bobby Sample’s very cool 3D-ish set that includes a 50s car, vinyl record, and blue suede shoes. When roustabout Chad rolls in on his motorcycle and shakes the town up with C’mon Everybody, getting them dancing to Lynzee’s dynamic choreography, the mostly black-and-white set is cleverly transformed into a colorful set, while cast members initially wearing bland clothes slowly filter backstage throughout the course of the song and return wearing lively, colorful 50s outfits. 

Carly Grossman stars as Natalie/Ed, a fantastic singer, dancer, and physical comedian who is hilarious as she falls in love/lust with roustabout Chad, and as she tries to channel the town’s hot, new museum curator Miss Sandra (Carly Makani Copp) with which Chad becomes instantly infatuated, and later reacting to Miss Sandra’s infatuation with her “Ed” alter ego while Carly Makani Copp knocks out a steamy One Night With You and Let Yourself Go (convinced she’s finally found a man with a brain). Conner Morley is a hit as our swivel-hipped Chad, revving the locals up with C’mon Everybody and charming Natalie with Follow That Dream, teaching Natalie’s dad Jim (David Samson) how to pick up women in a great Don’t Be Cruel scene between the two, teaching Natalie’s perfectly nerdy and very humorous would-be boyfriend Dennis (Michael Schulz) how to be cool, and amusingly trying to deal with his falling in love with “Ed” in I Don’t Want To.  

Ali Whitwell and Hahnna Christianson shine as a honky-tonk diner owner Sylvia and her daughter Lorraine (in this production, demographic challenges turn the show’s interracial romantic tensions into tensions caused by Lorraine and Sylvia working at a honky-tonk). Ali delivers powerful vocals in There’s Always Me, and Hahnna joins Trey DeGroodt as Dean (the son of the town’s conservative Mayor Matilda Hyde) in a charming Romeo and Juliet romance that includes the cleverly staged It’s Now or Never scene where Dean hops on a people-powered bus façade driving him out of town while a sad and frustrated Lorraine pretends that she just can’t keep up running with that slow-moving bus. Which is perfectly okay with Riley O’Conner as the mayor leading her morality campaign against the Devil in Disguise, complete with amusing choreography and performances by the cast of devils and angels.  

That ensemble is a phenomenal group of performers shaking the sleepy town awake, kicking us off with some Jailhouse Rock, checking us into the Heartbreak Hotel, heating up the stage with A Little Less Conversation, sending us swooning into intermission with Can’t Help Falling in Love, getting us All Shook Up to start Act Two, and sending us happily home warmed by a hunk, a hunk of Burning Love.

Performed October 25 - November 10, 2013

Rob Hopper
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Executive Director
National Youth Arts

~ Cast ~ 


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Natalie/Ed: Carly Grossman
Chad: Conner Morley
Jim: David Samson
Sylvia: Ali Whitwell
Lorraine: Hahnna Christianson
Dennis: Michael Schulz
Miss Sandra: Carly Makani Copp
Mayor Matilda Hyde: Riley O'Conner
Dean Hyde: Trey Degroodt
Sheriff Earl: Ben Massouras
Henrietta: Katie Czajkowski
Prisoner #47: Demari Thompson
Prisoner #3: Sydnie Greger
Bus Driver: Taylor Bader
Fella: Marshall Scott
Guy 1: Demari Thompson
Guy 2: Mason Reeves
Featured Dancers:
Marley DeGroodt
Brooke Shobe
Sydnie Greger
Mariella De Angelis
Katie Czajkowski
Demari Thompson
Mason Reeves
Samantha Isley
Ensemble:
Jessica Dolyniuk
Britt Reid
Rylee Hopson
Taylor Bader
Marshall Scott
Addison Bowman

Directors: Mark and Lynzee 4Man
Choreographer: Lynzee 4Man
Musical Director: Mark 4Man
Costume Design: Courtney Greger
Set Design: Bobby Sample
Hair Design: Angel DeMichael and Brooke Shobe
Make-Up Design: Jacob Hamilton
Properties Design: Vicki Grossman and Bobby Sample
Lighting Design: Mark 4Man
Sound Design: Kenny Grossman

   

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