All Shook Up
Author: Special to CH2 | Photographer: Photography by Anne
The jukebox at Hilton Head Island’s Main Street Theatre is cranking up and rocking the tunes of the King of Rock and Roll himself in Main Street Youth Theatre’s upcoming production of All Shook Up. This Broadway musical comedy features 24 hits from Elvis’ songbook including “Jailhouse Rock,” “Hound Dog” and “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” and is sure to have audiences jumping out of their “Blue Suede Shoes.” The production will run from June 22 to July 3, so mark your calendars now.
Based on the book by Joe DiPietro, All Shook Up mixes a little bit of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night with a whole lot of shakin’ in a fast-paced musical comedy fraught with mistaken identities and star-crossed lovers. Set in Small Town, USA, the action begins when a mysterious leather-jacketed, guitar-playing stranger named Chad (Henry Clark) rambles into town on his motorbike. This “rolling roustabout with a song in his soul and an eye for the ladies” stirs up the town, especially young Natalie (Cassie Maurer), a mechanic dreaming of adventure, who instantly falls head over heels for Chad without realizing her best friend Dennis (Logan Naddy) has a secret crush on her. Unfortunately, Natalie fails to capture Chad’s heart because his sights are set on Miss Sandra (Emily Workman), the high-class museum curator, who is not as taken with Chad as the rest of the town. Enter uptight Mayor Matilda (Meccay Nimmer), who, horrified at the town’s lax morality since Chad’s arrival, bans loud music, public necking and tight pants. Matilda is further aghast when she learns of the budding romance between her henpecked son Dean (Josh Morarity) and Lorraine (Jacey Robinson), adorable daughter of the local honky-tonk owner Sylvia (Olivia Williams). The divorced Sylvia, meanwhile, takes a liking to Natalie’s widowed father Jim (Dan Brown).
Is that enough romantic confusion? No, let’s toss in some Shakespearean drama: Natalie, in serious need of Chad’s attention, decides to pretend to be a boy (a mechanic named Ed) so she can worm her way into Chad’s good graces. In a 24-hour period, the entire town is turned upside down as characters young and old discover the magic of romance and the power of rock and roll.
“The show is upbeat, colorful and really clever. It’s the perfect way to end a Hilton Head summer day. And who doesn’t love Elvis music?” quipped director Michelle McElroy. Although this is McElroy’s first stint in the director’s chair at MSYT, she is no stranger to the local theatre community. As theatre director at Hilton Head Christian Academy, McElroy is active in the local theatre scene and has several wildly successful productions under her belt, making her a high-demand summer theater director. With her firm grasp on the production and phenomenal vision, All Shook Up will surely add to McElroy’s list of smashingly successful shows.
One remarkable aspect of the production is the eclectic group of 20 teenagers and young adults from all over the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton community, coming together to create one stellar cast. “I knew I wanted to be a part of this show as soon as it was announced,” said leading man Henry Clark. Clark, a recent graduate of Hilton Head Christian Academy, has tackled roles such as Gaston in Beauty and the Beast and Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls, both under the direction of McElroy, and is looking forward to his first MSYT experience.
While there are numerous new faces to MSYT, those returning include Dan Brown and Cassie Maurer. Brown, an MSYT alum, is back in the Lowcountry after studying at Furman University. “I am very excited, because up at Furman I was directing; so experiencing the stage again and receiving director’s input will better my onstage presence,” Brown said. On the other hand, Cassie Maurer, a rising junior at HHIHS, is expanding her horizon and filling the shoes of the leading lady for the first time. “I’m usually the girly girl in shows, so playing the tomboy Natalie is totally different for me. I’m very excited!” Maurer said.
While the cast of All Shook Up is nothing short of outstanding, MSYT has an impressive production team on board as well. Scott Grooms will run the sound and build the set, assisted by MSYT regular Dick Sanders; and John Dowbiggin will serve as lighting designer. The fabulous Beth Corry will be music director, and Jamal Edwards will lend his talents as choreographer. Gail Mooney will costume the actors in 1950s garb with her distinctive flair. Hilton Head Christian Academy rising senior Rebecca Donaldson will trade in her familiar character shoes for a headset as she takes on the role of stage manager.
“I am beyond ecstatic to be on the production side of this show,” Donaldson said. “I think it will be a very valuable experience and benefit me in the future as a performer.”
With this outstanding backbone, as well as the amazing support of the MSYT board members, All Shook Up is sure to become an audience favorite during its two-week run from June 22 to July 3.
A gala fundraiser catered by NEO at the theater will be held on June 24 at 6 p.m., and SERG will be partnering with MSYT offering a dinner and show pairing June 29-July 2. The show will run June 22, 23, 25, 29, 30, July 1 & 2 at 7 p.m. and at 2 p.m. on Sundays June 26 and July 3. Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors, and $15 for students. Group rates available. Tickets can be purchased at MSYT.org or by calling (843) 689-6246.