All Shook Up – A review of TMP’s musical Lively – The Suburban Times

Elvis could take someone else’s music and sing it. . . and it would become his song.

“All Shook Up” has 17 scenes and 25 songs. We were there on opening night. Imagine having all the songs recorded by Elvis to choose from. According to the official Elvis Presley fan club, Elvis has recorded around 784 songs. Would you play them in order? It would only be a playlist, although devotees would probably enjoy it, most would get bored after a while. What Joe Dipietro did was pick the songs, rearrange them and build a new story that gives us the essence of Elvis and the joy of his music. Elvis could take someone else’s music and sing it. . . and it would become his song.

The curtain opens and the jump begins the musical and the audience with “Jailhouse Rock” starring Chad, the character of Elvis, played by Jordan Melin. It was not his first time on stage but his first time at TMP. “Jailhouse Rock” was written by the iconic rock and roll team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. Their other hits written for Elvis included “All Shook Up”, “Hound Dog” and “Fools Fall in Love”.

Congratulations on stage designer / master stage carpenter Dennis Kurtz.

Congratulations on stage designer / master stage carpenter Dennis Kurtz. In many productions you worry that the walls will wobble as the doors open and close, but when you have catwalks and ladders that many adult men climb and dance on, you experience anxiety. You don’t want them to be hurt or even worried. It means solid construction. Very good work, Denis.

Charles Wright Academy

General Artistic Director Jon Douglas Rake directed this production. I like his reasoning; he said, “The story isn’t about Elvis at all, although it’s very much in the spirit of the Elvis movies, with every song serving the story in some way or another. ” Anyone who enjoys the music made famous by Elvis will experience a burst of pleasure and, in some cases, nostalgia. Shakespeare fans will also get their money’s worth as they notice a familiar story. As we listen to and remember Elvis’ music, we also get a storyline that closely follows Shakespeare’s play “Twelfth Night”.

Sometimes the winds of change herald the unexpected. . . an anti-hero.

It’s hard to be cool in a small town, but sometimes the winds of change bring the unexpected. . . an anti-hero who kind of uplifts everyone around them.

Natalie Haller (Ceili Caruso) plays a not shy girl who never really learned to be girly but always wanted to have a boyfriend. Her mother had passed away when she was young and her father Jim (Alex Merilo) had done her best, but a young girl needs a mother or other mature woman to help her through this confusing time. She has a good friend Dennis (Alex Domine), smaller than her but nevertheless her very good friend, who has a real crush on her. She doesn’t know it when this bombshell, Chad (Jordan Melin) comes into town on his motorbike in need of repairs. He asks the group of kids hanging out where he could find a repairman and Natalie appears: “I can do it.” She is in overalls, the fat monkey uniform. He doesn’t even realize it’s a girl. All, ALL the girls notice it, that motorcycle, jeans and leather jacket, blue suede shoes wearing the James Dean lookalike. And so the story begins.

DuPont Museum

All, ALL of the girls notice Chad, that motorcyclist, jeans, leather jacket and blue suede shoes wearing the James Dean lookalike; and so begins the story.

Everyone in town notices it; even mature women notice it. And the ride begins. Great Elvis songs, dancing, singing and partying begins. A story of anguish, desire and a certain confusion between the sexes. What I liked the most about this production was the pure joy. From the first curtain to the last thunderous applause, I enjoyed every tiny part of it. My favorite dance routine was when Natalie taps out and is joined by a group of dancers, all of them tap dancing. The tap is so much fun, great fun.

Peg says, “The energy, the singing, the dancing, the costumes, the sets, it all reminded me of my teenage years, just waiting to be grown enough to do more exciting things. Natalie embodies the explosion of feelings when she realizes that she realizes that she really “loves” a boy; the wait for the first kiss, the first sorrow, and the crazy joy of going dancing and getting lost in the rhythm, the words and the pure joy. What not to like?

Chad loves the museum curator who gives us the iconic look of a 1950s Marilyn Monroe.

Soon the whole town is abuzz with shocked and puzzled older women, and, as Shakespeare puts it, there is “Much ado about nothing.” Chad loves Sandra, the museum curator (Meaghan Heath), an “older” woman who gives us the iconic look of a 1950s Marilyn Monroe, the mayor’s son wants to skip his final year in military school so he can dating a waitress, Natalie’s dad is looking for someone when his best bet is right in front of him. It’s just real life on the parade.

Susanna Keilman

The owner of the snack bar Sylvia (Lanita Hudson Walters) is finally recognized as a dream come true for Jim, the father of Natalie. Walter’s voice broke a bit with “There’s always me.” It was good, but she had already sung quite a few numbers by then. We loved his singing. Ultimately, potential friends and lovers are sorted by the dancing and songs that Elvis made famous.

Sylvia, played by Lanita Hudson Walters is finally recognized as a dream come true. We loved his singing.

One of our favorite actors (it was the first time we saw him) was Alex Domine. He played Dennis, who had been in love with Natalie for most of her life. Alex played the character so well. We felt sorry for him when he was downcast and delighted for him in his outburst of joy. What a beautiful smile and he has a good voice and dancing skills.

The combination of Celi Caruso as Natalie and Jordan Melin as Chad was perfect. They played out really well, and Jordan had mastered Elvis’ ways so well.

Ed Selden Carpet One

One of our favorite actors, it was the first time we saw him, was Alex Domine.

Finally, I don’t know how many minutes the applause lasted. People gave several standing ovations to the excellent cast and choreographer Christina Naficy. It was a birthday present for my sister Deedee. She loves Elvis singing and dancing. We were originally going to buy him tickets a year and a half ago, but Covid has delayed the present. Deedee had a front row seat with Peg and I just three rows away from her. The opening night sold over two hundred seats.

People are still wary of crowds. Peg and I had our Covid shots as well as a booster. Everyone must wear a mask and provide a vaccination record. All Shook Up should keep everyone who attends entertained, even if you’re not an Elvis fan. The story was so lovely and the singers / dancers were superb. In a number of statues of men and women in body paint coming down from their pedestals to dance, so innovative.

The combination of Celi Caruso as Natalie and Jordan Melin as Chad was perfect.

Peg and I love to watch the actors and see where they come from, where they got their training, their hopes and their dreams. Even overall, some people stand out. Congratulations to Richard Cubi, he caught our attention. He did everything with precision. He had all the bottom moves and we loved to see him smile.

Pierce College

All Shook Up runs until October 10. For tickets and more information, visit

Finally, I don’t know how many minutes the applause lasted.

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