TCT musical showcases Elvis' songs

By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal

Chad’s the kind of guy who goes “from town to town to spread my lovin’.”
He’s a self-described “roustabout,” with a motorcycle, leather jacket and greasy hair. And if you check out his feet, you’ll notice a pair of blue suede shoes, which might remind you of a certain somebody.
“I think everybody has a little bit of Chad in them,” said Greg Pirkle, who plays the character in Tupelo Community Theatre’s “All Shook Up.” “If they don’t express it, they want to express it.”
After a rendition of “Jailhouse Rock” to start the show, Chad arrives in a sleepy 1950s town, where young and old find themselves trapped in the routines of everyday life.
“He comes to town and he changes the town,” said Tom Booth, director. “He’s going to make everybody start living. He’s going to wake them up.”

At the Lyric
What: Tupelo Community Theatre’s “All Shook Up”
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Lyric Theatre, Tupelo
Tickets: $20/adults, $10/students
Info: 844-1935.
The musical was written by Joe Dipietro, who also wrote “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” and “Over the River and Through the Woods.”
As the name and the show’s opening number imply, “All Shook Up” owes a lot of its energy and snap to Elvis Presley and the songs he sang.
In some cases, they’re snippets of songs. There’s a duel of sorts when Chad’s trying to catch Miss Sandra’s attention. He wants to be her “Teddy Bear,” but she thinks he ain’t nothing but a “Hound Dog.”
Dipietro wasn’t satisfied with cribbing from one worldwide cultural icon. He also borrowed ideas from William Shakespeare’s comedy, “Twelfth Night.”
Allison Griswold, who plays Natalie, said she enjoys how the characters grow over the course of the musical.
“I like the progression of the show. I like how quickly things change, and I like the plot twists,” she said. “I like that it’s based on Shakespeare. I’m a little bit of a nerd that way.”

Take a trip
All of the music and action will take place on the Jess Mark Stage, which has been transformed into a small town from the 1950s.
You’ll find a garage with a working motorcycle, if the technical crew can solve a nagging carburetor problem.
You’ll visit a carnival graveyard with discarded pieces of a roller coaster and a Ferris wheel.
A museum facade will drop from the fly loft, and there’s a honky-tonk where brokenhearted lovers will sing “Heartbreak Hotel.”
Against those backdrops, add a stellar soundtrack, a variety of love stories and a talented cast dressed in period costumes. “All Shook Up” promises to be an enchanting experience.
“There are mistaken identities. People think they’re supposed to be with people that they’re not supposed to be with,” Booth said. “There are a lot of twists and turns, but it all takes place in 24 hours in this little town.”

Contact M. Scott Morris at (662) 678-1589 or

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