"All Shook Up," running March 1 through 17 on the Players Guild Mainstage, is a Broadway musical-comedy structured around a whole jukebox’s worth of Elvis Presley hits.
THE SHOW: “All Shook Up”
The show, running March 1 through 17 on the Players Guild Mainstage, is a Broadway musical-comedy structured around a whole jukebox’s worth of Elvis Presley hits. Among them are “Jailhouse Rock,” “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Love Me Tender,” “Hound Dog,” “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and “Burnin’ Love.” The storyline is loosely adapted from, of all things, Shakespeare’s comedy “Twelfth Night.”
Set in 1955, “The show takes its cue from Elvis movies, where a guitar-playing outsider rolls into a small town and changes everything,” said Josh Erischsen, Players Guild producing artistic director. “There’s a nod to the mistaken identities of ‘Twelfth Night.’ It’s very lively and a lot of fun, but it also has its romantic moments. Not only do you get to hear all the great, old Elvis tunes, but you’ll hear them sung by a full ensemble of actors.”
THE GIRL: Sarah Karam
A Perry High School grad who has had prominent roles in “Oliver!” “The Full Monty” and “Legally Blonde: The Musical” at the Players Guild — plays Natalie in “All Shook Up.”
“She’s a tomboy, and as far as being a girl, she’s awkward,” Karam said. “When this roustabout, Chad, comes into town, she doesn’t know how to get him to notice her, so she decides to dress up as a boy (named Ed) and become his buddy.”
The plotline is borrowed from “Twelfth Night.”
This being a farce, romantic complications ensue. Chad allows Ed/Natalie to become his sidekick, then asks Ed to gather information about Chad’s love interest, sexy Sandra. Chad and Sandra both find themselves falling for Ed/Natalie, who doesn’t know what she wants.
“There’s a lot of twists to each character’s story,” Karam, 23, said.
As for masquerading as a guy, she said, “I’ll have a hat, and a leather jacket over a flannel shirt, and jeans. Let’s hope it’s humorous, and not just embarrassing for me!”
Karam gets to sing the Elvis hits “A Little Less Conversation,” “One night With You,” “Fools Fall in Love” and, with her co-star Jayson Kolbicz, “Blue Suede Shoes.”
“I never expected to get this part. I only knew this was a dance show with Elvis songs,” Karam said. “Jayson was very familiar with this show, and he was really great talking it all through with me.”
THE BOY: Jayson Kolbicz
A junior musical-theater major at Kent State University plays the leading role of Chad, a traveling rock ’n’ roller who sports a leather motorcycle jacket, blue suede shoes and a pompadour.
“He’s the roustabout character of the show, kind of Elvis meets Danny Zuko,” Kolbicz said. “He’s a rebel but he has a softer side to him. He’s just a cool cat. He changes how everybody lives in this town. He makes them live more.”
Page 2 of 2 - “All Shook Up” is one of Kolbicz’s favorite shows, which he first saw at the Toledo Repertory Theatre in his hometown.
“The music is awesome and nonstop, the choreography is great and it’s a really funny piece,” he said. “I’m excited to be a part of it. The director (Frank Lucas) is giving me a lot of room to make choices.”
Anyone fearing that 20-year-old Kolbicz is incapable of his character’s Elvis-like hip swivels and smolder should consider the actor’s previous role.
“I was Frank N. Furter in ‘Rocky Horror’ at Kent, in huge heels,” he said proudly. “It was a lot more sexual than the original ‘Rocky.’ It was awesome.”
Final question: Did Kolbicz hear any Elvis music while growing up?
“I didn’t,” he said. “We were an R&B kind of family.”