BRUNSWICK – As part of its 50th anniversary season, Maine State Music Theatre will present “All Shook Up,” featuring and inspired by the music of Elvis Presley, from July 16 through Aug. 2 at Pickard Theater.

The show follows the story of Natalie, a young female mechanic who dreams of hitting the road, and her love interest, a charismatic rebel named Chad, who brings music and love to her small Midwestern town.

The plot of “All Shook Up” is derived in part from Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night,” a play known for its gender bending, mistaken identities and unrequited love. When Natalie learns that Chad travels with only his male friends, she disguises herself as “Ed” in order to get closer to him. Besides their relationship, many minor love connections traverse the story, including those between the characters of Jim, Sandra, Dennis and Sylvia, as well as a forbidden interracial relationship between the mayor’s son, Dean, and the African-American Lorraine.

Though the plot borrows from the Bard’s tale, it is Elvis’ influence that dominates the musical. The leather-jacket wearing, hip-swiveling Chad is “The King” reincarnated, injecting music and dance into the small Midwestern town, just as Elvis did to 1950s America. Elvis’ music provides the soundtrack to the show, with Joe DiPietro’s new arrangements of 25 Elvis classics, including “Jailhouse Rock,” “Hound Dog,” “A Little Less Conversation,” “Love Me Tender,” “Fools Fall in Love” and “Can’t Help Falling in Love.”

“All Shook Up” features MSMT newcomer Brandon Andrus as Chad and Alex Ellis, who played Penny in last year’s “Hairspray,” as Natalie Haller/Ed. Brian Golub portrays Dennis, Natalie’s best friend; Charis Leos stars as Mayor Matilda Hyde; and Joy Lynn Matthews and Starr Domingue play the mother and daughter pair of Sylvia and Lorraine. Also returning to the stage in this production are MSMT fan favorites John-Charles Kelly as Jim Haller, Stuart Marland as Sheriff Earl and Amy Bodnar as Miss Sandra.

The show is being directed by Donna Drake, who returns to MSMT after directing “Hairspray” last season.

Tickets range from $28 to $50 and may be purchased by calling the box office at 725-8769 or by logging on to www.msmt.org. Pickard Theater is on the campus of Bowdoin College.


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