MANITOWOC, Wis. (WFRV) – Elvis Presley songs, William Shakespeare complexity and The Peter Quince Performing Company youth combine for “All Shook Up,” a COVID-delayed musical playing for two more performances in Capitol Civic Centre.
The musical is an oddity. Elvis doesn’t appear, but a sort-of Elvis/ladies man/con fresh from prison drives the story of love – smoldering love, unrequited love, mistaken love and Cupid-got-it-wrong love. All the way through are Elvis songs. William Shakespeare is around for messing up identities and intentions – and a bit of sonnet flair.
After playwright Joe DiPietro sets things up in the story, along come songs that fit in (mostly), that more than a few times lead into production numbers with energetic dancing. The big-burst numbers capture the enthusiasm in the unique company that has lasted 53 years with its noted rule: Cast members may be age 12 to 23, and then goodbye, thanks. Participation has been by 1,887 individuals over the years. Wow.
In this version of “All Shook Up,” the versatile Elvis songs come with a live orchestra, often adding a fullness.
The story set in a small town is a maze: Chad (the sort-of Elvis) loves Sandra who loves Ed who happens to be Natalie in disguise who loves Chad. Natalie’s dad, Jim, also loves Sandra, though Jim is loved by Sylvia, the mother of Lorraine who loves Dean who is the son of the mean Mayor Matilda, who is not much for this love stuff. Natalie is loved by Dennis, but Natalie thinks he’s only a nice guy.
Led by director Jessica Iantello and music/choral director Ryan Kluba, two types of strong teaming come into play. One teaming is the ensemble that bursts into action and often colorful song. The other teaming involves two or three players who develop characters, often shaping feelings.
The main team is Noah Verhasselt (Chad) Addison Fowler (Natalie), notably when Chad takes a liking to Ed, who is Natalie in disguise. Chad, the smooth operator, is taken aback by having his wires crossed.
Another team is Lila Lor (Lorraine) and Ian Zabel (Dean), who are so smitten with one another they plan to run away together.
Another team is Nick Michaelson (Jim) and Kaelle Hoeppner (Sylvia), who are parental units who are single and searching.
Ally Stokes (Sandra) and Henry Rotter (Dennis) are searching for love in the wrong places. Sandra, the frustrated museum director, has the best – and custom made – line along the way: “This town makes me miss Two Rivers.”
Songs are sometimes sung in a passage or two and sometimes sung with meaning as the character, such as Chad, sifts through his/her soul.
The company doesn’t have a giant production budget, but it lights up the stage with a show that picks up interest and momentum as goes. The finale is super-charged.
Creative: Music from the Elvis Presley songbook; book – Joe DiPietro; Peter Quince general director – Jessica Ianitello; choral and pit director – Ryan Kluba; choreographer – Kelsey O’Connor; music assistant – Joey O’Connor; music/choreo assistant – Kalina Akgulian; technical director – Nolan Winter; producer – Sam Krueger; stage manager – Drake Hansen; assistant stage managers – Alexa Malley, Michaelon Akgulian; costume designer – Michelle Ruzek; hair and make-up designer – Morgan Wiesner; props master – Nathan Lucknow; art designer – Red Moser; master carpenter – Drake Hansen.
Natalie Haller/Ed – Addison Fowler
Chad – Noah Verhasselt
Miss Sandra – Allyson Stokes
Dennis – Henry Rotter
Jim Haller – Nick Michaelson
Sylvia – Kaelle Hoeppner
Dean Hyde – Ian Zabel
Lorraine – Lila Lor
Mayor Matilda Hyde – Mary Iannitello
Sheriff Earl – Bryce Kelly Howe
Henrietta: Sean Stalvey
Ensemble: Sean Stalvey, Teresa Iannitello, Vanessa Stalvey, Mackenzi Stokes, Nathan Luckow, Gabby Damian, Rudy Rotter, Jenna Schamburek, Katherine Vadney
Orchestra: Conductor – Ryan Kluba; piano – Joey O’Connor; flute, alto sax – Atlas Hampton-Gregory; clarinet, tenor sax – Jonnel Ramirez-Rivera; baritone saxophone, bass clarinet – Kalina Akgulian; trumpet 1 – Isabella Bennett; trombone – Liam Berry; electric bass, cello – Rori Beatty; guitar 1 – Jake Puestow; guitar 2 – Abbey Barnett; drums – Noah Babich
Running time: Two hours, 7 minutes
Remaining performances: 7 p.m. Aug. 14 and 3 p.m. Aug. 15
“Jailhouse Rock” – Chad, Jailbirds, Warden
“Heartbreak Hotel” – Henrietta, Dennis, Sylvia, Lorraine, Natalie, Jim, Chorus
“Roustabout” – Chad
“One Night with You” – Natalie
“C’mon Everybody” – Full Ensemble
“Follow That Dream” – Chad, Natalie
“One Night with You” – Chad
“Teddy Bear”/“Hound Dog” – Chad, Sandra, Dennis, Natalie
“One Night with You” – Jim
“That’s All Right” – Chad, Dennis, Lorraine, Dean, Sylvia, Chorus
“It’s Now or Never” – Dean, Lorraine, Passengers
“Love Me Tender” – Chad, Natalie
“Blue Suede Shoes” – Natalie, Chad, Dennis, Ensemble
“Don’t Be Cruel” – Chad, Jim
“Follow That Dream” (Reprise) – Ed
“One Night with You” – Sandra
“Can’t Help Falling in Love” – Full Ensemble
“All Shook Up” – Full Ensemble
“A Little Less Conversation” – Ed
“The Power of My Love” – Jim, Chad, Sandra
“I Don’t Want To” – Chad
“There’s Always Me” – Sylvia
“If I Can Dream” – Chad, Lorraine, Dean, Ensemble
“Can’t Help Falling in Love with You” (Reprise) – Earl, Jim, Sylvia, Chorus
“One Night with You” – Sandra, Dennis
“Fools Fall in Love” – Natalie, Ensemble
“Burning Love” – Full Ensemble
THE VENUE: Renovation and upgrade projects of 2019 include new seating (with drink holders in the arms), technical upgrades and added public spaces. Located at 913 S. 8th St. in downtown Manitowoc, the 1,003-seat West Auditorium of Capitol Civic Centre features classically oriented styles befitting its 1921 origins as a combined vaudeville and movie palace. New lighting brightens the auditorium considerably. Two large, tiered, tear-drop clear crystal chandeliers grace shoulders on each side of the proscenium stage. All around is ornamentation – Corinthian capitals on faux columns, leaf-and-scroll braces beneath balcony and step-stage box seat areas, gold and red paint highlighting swirls and/or patterned geometric designs amid the cream-colored wall features. The ceiling is coffered. The fringe around the stage is ornate, with the stage curtain regal red with the Capitol Civic Center’s signature overlaid C’s standing out in the middle of the top hanging, which includes six tassels. Distinctive in the theater is the mezzanine, which is tucked far under the balcony and above the rear seats of the main floor. The lobbies (the second level new in 2019) and meeting areas complement the rest of the theater in design. One area includes photo displays of stars and prominent personalities, including Charlton Heston and his wife, Two Rivers native, Lydia Clark Heston. The “Jewel on the Lakeshore” is home to 14 community arts, music and theater groups. Designed by local architect William J. Raueber and built by the local George Brothers, Arthur and John, the theater opened June 16, 1921, at Ascher Brothers’ Capitol Theatre under a lease agreement with the Chicago-based Ascher movie and vaudeville house operators. The current name dates to 1987, following restoration with the lead grant coming from the Ruth St. John and John Dunham West Foundation, Inc.
THE PEOPLE: John West was president of the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co. The foundation that bears the Ruth and John West name supports and fosters the arts, with the Rahr-West Art Museum another significant site in Manitowoc.