I don’t particularly like the theatre. I think it has something to do with guys wearing makeup and fake stairs on the set that go to nowhere. (Any path that goes nowhere frustrates me) It might also have something to do with the fact that I am an Abraham Lincoln fan and Abraham Lincoln was shot in a theatre. Every time I go to the theatre and hear a loud noise I instinctively look behind me to make sure a relative of John Wilkes Booth didn’t just try to shoot me in the head.
Despite my dislike of most theatre productions I will occasionally see one that I like. Last Friday, Jessica and I went to go see a production of “All Shook Up” at Jimtown High School. A student from the youth group was performing so despite my hesitation we went. I was hesitant to go for a couple of reasons. First, as I have already explained, I don’t like the theatre. Second, this was a musical. That makes it even worse than just a regular play because the music is usually so loud I can’t hear John Wilkes Booth XXVI sneak up behind me. Third, it was a High School musical. That usually means people who don’t really have any talent try to sing, dance and act. And when you go to a musical at a High School you always get the song “We’re all in this together” stuck in your head for some reason. Fourth, I was hesitant to go because I was feeling a little gaseous and that doesn’t bode well for confined areas with lots of people around.
I was pleasantly surprised that this High School actually had some talented singers who acted and danced. The show, although very long, was actually very good. It made me laugh, tap my foot, sing along and at times it made me a bit uncomfortable. The musical was a collection of songs by Elvis that included Jail House Rock, Heartbreak Hotel, One Night With You, Blue Suede shoes, and Burning Love. All these songs left me with the impression that they just don’t make music like they used to. It also made me want to buy leather jackets and a West Coast Chopper for Jessica and I to ride off into the sun on as we belted out “Love Me Tender” at the top of our lungs.
The basic premise of the story is that Chad, a hip-swiveling, guitar-playing roustabout, is released from prison and comes to a small quiet town with music in his soul and dancing in his feet. Apparently Chad has Super powers and can fix broken juke boxes with his mind and make people fall in love at the drop of a hat. Chad’s arrival in the town causes an uproar because a dictator-esk mayor won’t let anyone in her town dance, fall in love, neck (that means make out, by the way, I like that rule), swivel their hips, or let their hair stand more than 3 centimeters off their head. The rest of the play consists of people finding joy in life again and replacing a list of rules for love. Even the mean old mayor falls in love in the end. My favorite character was Dennis. He looked like a guy who watched the Weather Channel a lot and knew too much about different types of wood. I guess the only reason I liked him was because he talked funny and was always the underdog but still somehow managed to get a girl in the end.
At intermission Jessica and I sat and drank pop and at chips we paid way too much for as we talked about how we wish we were born in a different era so we could listen to oldies all the time and roll our pant legs up and not get laughed at. We also noticed all the high school kids around. Is it just me or did high school students get a lot younger and more immature since I’ve my days at Rockford High? Maybe I was just as immature and small but thought I was big and cool. And what is up with guys wearing tight pants that they tuck into their brightly colored high tops? Who started that fashion? I think some really popular guy had all his clothes in the wash one morning so he had to borrow his sisters pants, his brothers shoes (his brother who happened to be Ronald McDonald and had an extra pair of size 24 neon colored clown shoes lying around), and then went to Pac Sun before school to buy a pink v-neck t-shirt that wouldn’t fit my nephew Atreyu that weighs less than 8 pounds. That’s probably how it started.
After intermission the musical started to get a little weird. The main character, Chad, fell in love with a guy named Ed who wasn’t really a guy at all but a girl named Natalie who was trying to win the affection of Chad by dressing like a guy and coloring a fake beard on her face. I don’t know why you would dress up like a guy to do that but it worked out pretty well for her. Next, the Stalin-like Mayor had an electric guitar duel with Chad while she wore a red kilt and angels and demons dressed like the Fonz danced around and taunted each other. To make things worse they were dueling with guitars that had no strings on them and to a song that didn’t have a guitar part to it. (Plus they mimicked an “E” chord the whole time and everyone knows you don’t have a guitar duel when you can only play one chord.)
However, the musical redeemed itself in the end when everyone who was in love married a person they weren’t pursuing but obviously belonged with. The whole thing was a bizarre, musically sweet rendition of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night made that much better by a guy in the dance crew who didn’t really know what he was doing but got on stage and danced like an old man made completely out of wood and a little bit of rubber because his girlfriend told him too. (That was the guy I watched when I got bored with the rest of the production.) If you want a full review of the play you can look it up on Wikipedia. Oh yeah, and no one tried to sneak in to the theatre and shoot the president…or me for that matter. Thanks for reading!