PITTSBURG — Upon curtain rise, the music kicked on and a blast of energy came out from the stage at Friday’s dress rehearsal for the show “All Shook Up.”
After less than two weeks with approximately 60 hours of practice and preparation Just Off Broadway Theater Camp presented a musical with Elvis Presley tunes called “All Shook Up” Saturday and Sunday.
After an energetic introduction, the story began at Sylvia’s place, a bar filled of people who were “feeling so lonely.”
The audience learns of why the town seemed so down — the mayor wasn’t too fond of hand holding, kissing, dancing or music, which an act was put into place by her to stop these things from happening in her town.
The characters questioned how one could ever be in love in a town like this.
Things began to change after the new guy in town, Chad, comes around with his motorcycle which he said had a “jiggly wiggly sound” which needed fixed. He shocked the townspeople as he did a little dance when he said “jiggly wiggly sound” — something they don’t see too often in town for fear the mayor might find out.
Chad soon finds out the jukebox is broken, and learns of the mayor’s act.
“Broken jukes with broken down people and broken down dreams,” he said.
The musical shared not only the story of how a town which wasn’t allowed to have any fun but also the story of six different characters finding “the one” — using traditional Shakespearean plots and Elvis Presley tunes.
One couple’s love was forbidden because it was between the mayor’s son and a girl of a different social status. The two had plans to run away together but they decided against it and at the end the couple had the mayor’s “blessing.”
The next few relationships were not this simple — this couple knew they loved each other, but for the rest of the characters it wasn’t that easy.
The town’s mechanic Natalie, liked the new guy in town Chad. Chad did not like her back, in fact he liked someone else. He liked museum clerk Sandra, who did not like him. Sandra liked Natalie who had dressed up as a male named Ed to be closer to Chad — later to find out she actually liked Dennis, who wrote a poem which Chad had asked Ed to give to Sandra. Dennis loves Natalie. Chad then finally realizes his love for Natalie, but will she love him back?
McKenna Shaw played Natalie, a mechanic who dreamt of getting out of the lonely town on her bike. Her character goes through changes as she learns to be herself through the journey of falling in love — including dressing as a man to get close to Chad.
Chad, who realized his feelings for Natalie, is too late in the end — she leaves his heart in pieces after she realized she didn’t need him to get on her bike and leave town.
“It is really fun because, Natalie, she's has such a wide variety of emotions and she starts out really awkward and obviously goes through a big change in the show,” Shaw said. “To get to play almost two characters is awesome and it is really different to play someone acting as someone else.”
Stuart O’Brien played Dennis, a shy “nerdy” guy wearing suspenders, said his character found the courage to tell the girl he loved, Natalie, through the other characters. Unfortunately for Dennis, Natalie was not interested.
“He was nervous and didn’t want to tell her, but the other characters wanted him to,” O’Brien said.
After Sandra, played by Mesa Jones, finds out that Ed is Natalie, she falls in love with Dennis who wrote the romantic, Shakespeare-filled poem.
Levi Bin, who played Chad, and Shaw said they have seen people fall in love with someone who doesn’t like them back and have met people who have not had the courage to tell someone how they felt about another.
“Maybe not this complex,” Shaw said. “I have experienced it myself, but definitely not to say that this isn’t too ordinary — boy likes girl, another girl likes that boy — it's definitely a thing.”
Bin said what he would tell someone if they were in one of these love predicaments is to move on.
“You do you, if you like someone and they don’t like you back it’s their loss,” Bin said. “ ‘Cause you’re a special person and you gotta know it.”
“He’s not worth it,” she said.
— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.