"Most of the songs here are not certified gold-standard Elvis rock ’n’ roll hits, though all are part of his repertoire."
How long has it been since you heard “Jailhouse Rock”?
If your answer is “too long,” there’s a solution: San Diego Musical Theatre’s Elvis-themed “All Shook Up” opens with a smashing version of that old hit.
With a book by Joe DiPietro, “All Shook Up” is a mashup of Elvis tunes and Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” plot. But mostly, it’s just a chance to tap your toes and hum along while Chad (aka Elvis) burns his way through an unheard-of Midwestern town in 1955.
Most of the songs here are not certified gold-standard Elvis rock ’n’ roll hits, though all are part of his repertoire. And if you’ve ever wondered why you haven’t heard many Elvis ballads, here’s your chance to hear some.
DiPietro introduces Chad as Roustabout, who rolls into town looking for a mechanic to fix his motorcycle. There he meets Natalie (Krista Feallock), whose dad Jim (Richard Van Slyke) taught her what she knows about engines. She’s the type who says “Why wear a dress when you can clean an engine with it?”
Chad is a bit taken aback, especially when Natalie falls hard for him.
Also in town are uptight Mayor Hyde (Barbara Schoenhofer) – who thinks most everything is a sin (especially interracial dating) – and “museum lady” Miss Sandra (Sami Nye), a classy-looking blonde who captures Chad’s interest.
Then there’s the adorably nerdy Dennis (Noah Filley), who’s been crazy about Natalie since they played in sandboxes together. Oh, and bar owner Sylvia (a terrific, down-to-earth Erin Vanderhyde), who falls for Natalie’s dad Jim.
You’re getting the idea, right? Everybody’s in love with somebody who’s not interested – a great reason for lots of songs and ’50s-style dances, which this show has in spades.
It’s a fun evening, despite the fact that some of the dancers aren’t quite synchronized, and the singers sound like they’re in Petco Park without mikes. There’s no need to shout in this small space.
But hey, if you’re looking for a good time, get out those blue suede shoes and get down to the Horton Grand Theatre. The show runs through Sept. 1.
San Diego Musical Theatre’s production of “All Shook Up” runs through September 1, 2019 at the Horton Grand Theatre, 444 4th Avenue, downtown.
Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 pm; Friday and Saturday at 8 pm; Sunday at 2 pm.
Tickets: (858) 560-5740 or sdmt.org