KIDSTAGE gets ‘All Shook Up’ for summer production

July 13, 2010

By Chantelle Lusebrink

Village Theatre Erin Herrick (as Natalie, left), Kody Bringman (as Dennis), CJ Eldred (as Chad), and Adrian Slade (as Sandra) are cast members in the Village Theatre Kidstage production of ‘All Shook Up.’ By Jean Johnson

There’s a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Village Theatre’s Mainstage as the KIDSTAGE cast gets ready to debut “All Shook Up” July 17.

Inspired by the songs of Elvis Presley, “All Shook Up” is a family-friendly comedy, cast members said. Think part “Rebel Without a Cause,” part Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night,” part “Footloose” and a whole lot of The King.

“I saw it at a high school last summer and from then on, I knew I wanted to do the show,” Director Kelsey Thorgalsen, 20, said. “I love the energy of it. It’s just fun and funny to watch how the love element takes over the people in the town and changes them.”

The KIDSTAGE youth theater program — which began in 1985 as Village Theatre’s youth program for children and young adults, ages 3-20 — produces two full theatrical productions each summer.

“All Shook Up” is the program’s annual Summer Independent production, managed from inception to final curtain call by youths and young adults from 13-20.

The program allows children and young adults to discover all aspects of theater work, including choreography, technical set design and acting, connecting with professionals and pushing themselves, Production Manager Michael McManus said.

McManus, a 2010 graduate from Issaquah High School, said without KIDSTAGE he wouldn’t have had the opportunities to meet the people he did, nor develop the body of work that helped him gain admittance to George Washington University.

In all, more than 30 youths make up this year’s Summer Independent cast.Mayhem ensues when the roving, motorcycle driving Chad, a roustabout, rolls into quintessential Small Town, USA, in the 1950s.

With his beaming grin, crooning and strutting, Chad sends the ladies swooning.

“He’s not so arrogant that people don’t like him,” said CJ Eldred, 19, who plays Chad. “He’s this lovable cocky, and he has a good heart and a good message.”

As romance overtakes the tiny community, it forms among the unlikeliest of pairs. Even the town’s tomboy, Natalie Haller, played by Erin Herrick, 19, can’t resist. To gain his affections, she finds herself taking her tomboy habits to an extreme, cross-dressing as a boy to gain his trust.

“The small town only knows her as a tomboy,” she said. “Deep down, she wants to explore the world and find love outside of the town, but she won’t let herself, until Chad comes.”

Even then, she has a hard time figuring out how to change her persona to get him to like her, she said.

Since the show is set in 1955, there are messages surrounding love, sexuality and race. However, they are presented in a family-friendly way and aren’t overt, Thorgalsen said.

The hilarity of seeing a tomboy cross-dress as a man and exaggerate male mannerisms is part of what makes the show exceedingly funny and sweet, Herrick said.

“The best part of the show is the energy. It’s funny and exciting,” Eldred said. “But it does have a serious part. It has a good message.”

Bottom line, it’s a high-energy show, with big notes and big choreography that will get audiences singing Elvis favorites and dancing in their blue suede shoes.

“If you’re going to go see a movie, come see ‘All Shook Up’ instead,” Herrick said. “It’s better quality and you’re supporting your local community.”

If you go

‘All Shook Up’

-July 17-24, showtimes vary

-$15

-Francis J. Gaudette Theatre

-303 Front St. N.

-392-2202 or www.villagetheatre.org

Chantelle Lusebrink: 392-6434, ext. 241, or clusebrink@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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