Eastlight Theater opened the second selection of their 2010 season, "All Shook Up" to a Friday night packed house.
And that house was left standing, clapping, and yelling for more.
With a subtitle that states "Inspired by and featuring the songs of Elvis Presley", this show hopes to do for Elvis what "Mama Mia - The Musical" did for Abba.
Well, "Mama Mia" it ain't. With a hokey and somewhat predictable storyline, this is the type of show that in less talented hands could stand to fail miserably.
But here at Eastlight under the expert direction of Mark Baugher, working (literally) with a stage full of talent, this show really delivers.
It offers what any good musical should; a rollicking night of great songs, exceptional voices, and good choreography.
Jeremy Kelly, who impressed in Eastlight's previous production of "Altar Boyz", is perfectly cast as Chad, The Roustabout. In addition to his superb voice and dance moves, Mr. Kelly exudes the comfortable and genuine sex appeal that the role demands.
Bree Carroll, as the female lead character, Natalie, also brings to the stage a truly beautiful voice. She seemed increasingly comfortable in the many aspects of her role; as grease monkey, as love-struck girl, and as one-of-the-guys Ed.
Carmen McCarthy shines as Sylvia, the hard-nosed bartender, as does Kelsey Burd as the cultured Miss Sandra.
In addition to the music and dance, the play offers a good bit of humor.
Much of this is courtesy of Stephen Peterson, who turns in a delightfully over-the-top performance as Dennis, the lovable nerd. (And he can sing and dance too!)
The rest of the ensemble cast are just that, a cohesive ensemble who perform well together and play off each other effectively.
Another aspect of theater production at which Eastlight always excels is in the area of lighting and sets. This performance is no exception.
With a few seamless moves we are taken from automotive garage to tavern to fairgrounds fun house to wedding chapel.
Kudos to the sets and staging crew!
As I have stated before, Eastlight continues to set the bar for local theater, and this is yet another production that you definitely should not miss.
Performances continue on August 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, and 14.
So see it soon!