Saturday, March 31, 2012

All Shook Up

A couple of weeks ago I made my way back to Cumberland County Playhouse to see the opening of their newest show All Shook Up. This musical is filled with well known Elvis tunes, along with some awesome dancing, color and laughs.

There are several familiar faces in this show (as usual), but many of them are less regular at the Playhouse, but were from last season's productions of Chicago and Dreamgirls. I love seeing the "regulars" but I also love when there are some new (or newer) faces on the Playhouse stage.

All Shook Up takes place in an unnamed American town in the 50s, who's fun has been outlawed by Mayor Matilda, played with great hilarity by Lauren Marshall. The young people in the town are all bored and want to leave the town, but then rebel Chad rides into town on his (REAL!) motorcycle and....shakes things up. :)

Chad is played by Playhouse regular, Austin Price. This is, however, the first time I think I've seen him in a lead role, save High School Musical and Camp Rock. He does a fantastic job with the role of Chad by playing is up as a cheesy, over exaggerated character (which it is), and his vocals are great.

Taken from the Cumberland County Playhouse facebook page

Chad catches the eye of Natalie, the tomboy only child of local mechanic Jim, played by Jason Ross. Natalie is played by Leila Nelson (who also choreographed the production beautifully) has grown up without a mother and wants to leave town to find her true love. Nelson has some impeccable comedic timing and plays the role of Natalie with a youthful exuberance that makes her character lovable and hilarious.

Of course any comedy wouldn't be complete without misunderstandings, misdirected romantic attention and mistaken identity. The entire town is soon caught up in the chaos that ensues. Some other stand outs in the show were Dee Hill as local diner owner, Sylvia (her voice gave me chills, in a good way) and Daniel Black as Natalie's friend Dennis and later Chad's side-kick.

The lighting for the show was beautifully done, especially during the slightly creepy museum scene. The set design was great and for the first time that I've seen at the Playhouse, there was a walkway built out over the first couple of rows of the audience, making the action even closer to you (especially me, since I sat very close to said walkway).

Call me a softy, but I love the clothing from the 50s. I even had a poodle skirt as a child. This made the costumes absolutely thrilling for me. Throw in some leather jackets and white shirts for the guys, along with an array of blue suede shoes, and I was a happy girl. Costume designer Renee Luttrell, thank you. :)

I won't lie, I was a little apprehensive of this show when I first heard about it. But it turned out to be way more fun than I imagined and had me in stitches for most of the show. Sometimes it has the feel of Grease, sometimes of Hairspray, and other times of a Shakespearean comedy. I am a huge fan of dance numbers and this show was not lacking in those. Each one brought a smile to my face. While I have no desire to give away the plot line of the show I can assure you that you will leave the show smiling and humming an Elvis tune.

All Shook Up runs on the Mainstage through May 12th. You can purchase tickets by calling the box office at 931-484-5000 or by clicking HERE.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Almost Famous

Truth be known, I don't have a lot of readers or followers on this lovely blog. It's nothing other than the fact that MOST of the theatre people I know live outside of my area and I tend to blog mostly about theatre in Tennessee. I've said it before, I really just do this for me anyway. I gotta talk about theater and this way I at least FEEL like someone might be listening (or reading, as the case may be).

I do have quite a few readers and friends through my other blog though. And sometimes the love of all things dramatic (at least when it comes to theatre) crosses over. We meet because of diabetes and become friends because we have so much in common.

That's kind of what happened when I met my friend Mike. We live in opposite sides of the country, but we had about a million (exaggerating....slightly) friends in common on facebook and twitter. When we became friends on facebook, I discovered by Mike's random status updates (quoting musicals that I LOVE) that we shared a love of theatre as well as a busted pancreas.

Then Mike became one of the few people that was both reading AND commenting on this blog (thank you Mike!). After I recently saw a production of The Sound of Music, Mike asked me if he could interview me for his awesome podcast, What Some Would Call Lies. Completely flattered, I accepted. :)

The final outcome has gone live today. In it we discuss a mutual love of The Sound of Music, theatre and my love of American Idiot. Check it out on Mike's blog HERE. You can also find the podcast in the iTunes store and the Zune Marketplace. You can follow Mike on Twitter HERE.

Thanks to Mike for giving me the opportunity to share on your podcast. You make me feel..... almost famous. :)