It’s one of the most famous opening lines in theatrical history – “If music be the food of love, play on,” the Duke Orsino says as Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night begins. Such a theme makes the association of this classic and the music of Elvis Presely a little less surprising, but All Shook Up may be something you have to see to believe.
You’ll have your chance April 13-29 at The Music Box Dinner Theatre in Swoyersville.
Set in a fictional American Midwest town in the 1950s, All Shook Up purports to be based on Twelfth Night, but it’s just as reminiscent of Footloose in the sense that the town doesn’t allow dancing and all that, director Michael Marone said.
The book was written by Joe DiPietro, known for works including I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, Memphis, and Over The River And Through The Woods. It ran for six months on Broadway after opening in 2005.
Marone is the artistic director of the Hazleton-based Pennsylvania Theatre for the Performing Arts, which opened its 2011 season with All Shook Up. When the Music Box scheduled the show for this year, it extended an invitation to Marone to direct.
“The story revolves around this edgy character, Chad, who rides into to this bland, average American ’50s town … on his motorbike and he’s going to change their ways,” said Marone.
Although the score features 24 songs made popular by Elvis Presley, there is no attempt on the part of Chad or any of the play’s other characters to impersonate “The King.”
“It’s a very dance heavy show with a lot of big ensemble production numbers, some of them one right after another. ‘Jailhouse Rock’ is a huge dance number that includes the entire company. ‘Burning Love,’ ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love,’ – they’re all huge production numbers,” Marone said.
The ’50s style choreography was designed by Samantha Schugardt, who also worked on the PTPA show. Described as a jukebox musical, All Shook Up manages to be more than just a revue.
“The plot is very thick. There are 10 leads in the show. We’re used to seeing the idea of the love triangle. In this show, it’s really like a love decahedron. It’s ridiculous.”
Marone plays a “dorky” character named Dennis who is in love with a female mechanic, Natalie, who is so entranced with Chad she doesn’t notice him. Meanwhile Chad is in love with Sandra, a classic Betty Boop-like pin-up who runs the local museum.
“All of the characters are very fun and over-the-top. A lot of the comedy is tongue-and-cheek and gives these little sideways glances at the audience,” the director described. “I think audiences really like that feeling that they’re involved.”
Tickets are available for dinner and show or show only. Shows Friday and Saturday start at 8 p.m., Sunday matinees start at 3 p.m. Dinner is served 90 minutes before curtain. A cash bar is also available. Call 283-2195 or 800-698-PLAY for reservations or for more information.