All Shook Up – 2015 Production

Newlands College has a proud tradition of producing outstanding musicals that are exciting to be part of, and entertaining to watch. For those of us that have been previous years, you would have been spellbound by the magic of the Wizard of Oz, and more recently transported to Camelot for the hilarious Monty Python’s Spamalot. This year, the next stepping stone in the Newlands College musical canon is one we are confident can soar to the same outstanding heights.

The musical for 2015 is ‘All Shook Up’ – fresh from Broadway we are very lucky to be only the second New Zealand production of this outstanding musical. It is a Elvis Presley jukebox musical, meaning that all the music are Elvis songs including classics like ‘Blue Suede Shoes’, ‘Hound Dog’ and ‘A Little Less Conversation’. The story itself is based on ‘Twelfth Night’, a Shakespeare play meaning there are endless opportunities for dramatic conflicts, bawdy puns and cross-dressing.

Today I’m going to tell you a bit more about what happens in All Shook Up and then explain how you can get involved.

The show opens in 1955 in a small you-never-heard-of-it town somewhere in Midwest America, which is ruled by the conservative Mayor Matilda who has banned music, dancing, tight pants and public necking – which if set today would mean banning hip-hop, twerking, chinos and PDAs. Of course this all changes when Chad, our Elvis-esque moral compass protagonist, gets out of jail:

He rides in on a motorbike into the sheltered town, brings a jukebox to life and nothing is quite the same. Chad demonstrates he has a power over people with his oozing confidence and Elvis-esque hip thrusting.

Chad is particularly alluring for Natalie, a female mechanic. She falls madly in love with Chad the moment she sees him. Unfortunately, he doesn’t reciprocate her feelings, so Natalie does what every self-respecting woman in a situation where she is experiencing unrequited love. She dress as a man, turning herself into a roustabout called Ed and becomes Chad’s best friend to get close to him.

This is complicated by Dennis, an awkward young man who is in love with Natalie but is unable to tell her. This is further complicated by Miss Sandra, the town’s intellectual who falls madly in love with Ed (who is really Natalie), meanwhile Chad is completely in love with Sandra. Meanwhile in another part of town, Sylvia holds feelings for Jim, who is already in love with Sandra, while Earl holds secretly feelings for Matilda, whose son Dean is in love with Lorraine.

It’s gloriously silly and the web of love sets up some hilarious scenes, as well as this last number in the first Act where an Elvis Presley classic is turned into a soaring finale.

The second act finds the characters unraveling the web of love at the town’s local fairground complete with a tunnel of love ride naturally.A highlight is when Natalie momentarily forgets she is dressed as a man and flings herself at Chad causing him great confusion. Of course it all finishes in classic musical style with weddings, frivolity and a happy village song. This clip is the finale song performed by the original Broadway cast out on a publicity tour.

If you want to be in All Shook Up, it’s now or never. We are looking for a cast of about 60 of both boys and girls. There are a dozen key roles as well as some minor roles that will be cast later on down the rehearsal process. We need people that can sing, dance and act as everyone on stage will be required to do all three. This doesn’t mean you have to be an outstanding singer, or won’t get in if you aren’t a good dancer. We are looking for a balanced cast with lots of people that have different strengths.

The auditions will be on lunchtimes and after school on Thursday, Friday and Monday. To prepare for the audition you need to go to the All Shook Up website. There is link straight from the moodle homepage. On this site you can find out all about All Shook Up, and you can click the audition tab to prepare and sign up through the google form by being logged in to your school email. Alternatively see me at the Dean’s Room if you have any issues with this online process.

On this audition page you can see the song that you will asked to sing at you singing audition, you will see the lines which we would like to hear and see you deliver and you will see the clip that has the dance routine we will ask you to show us. Even if you aren’t planning on auditioning you can help make my dance tutorial go viral on YouTube. According to analytics it’s already got 40 views in Japan, which is well slightly scary.

We are looking for a committed and enthusiastic cast which means we want to see you prepared for the audition, having learnt the dance routine, being familiar with the song and ready to deliver the line in character. Next week we will ask some of the auditioners to come back for callbacks. And we will post the chorus list of those that have been successful.

The production remains a significant highlight on the school calendar. Even if performing isn’t your thing, there will be plenty of opportunities to get involved backstage, in the design, publicity or the technical side. Otherwise we hope to see all of you in the audience for what will be another outstanding Newlands College musical production.

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