All Shook Up, the Elvis Presley musical
by Zilker Theatre Productions
Jul. 06 - Aug. 18
from Theatremania review by David Finkle, March 24, 2005:
The phrase "all shook up," which Elvis Presley put into the language with his 1957 hit record, isn't an anagram of the name "Shakespeare," but Joe DiPietro apparently thinks it's close enough. Perhaps having noticed the linguistic relationship of "shake" and "shook," librettist DiPietro decided to mine the Bard's plays when he was asked to turn the ever-hot Elvis Presley songbook into the jukebox musical All Shook Up. (He took the term "jukebox musical" so to heart that he has included an actual jukebox in the tuner's shake-a-tail-feather action, and David Rockwell has incorporated a vintage beauty in his endlessly clever set design.)
Faced with the daunting challenge of providing a storyline to accommodate 25 Presley-anointed ditties with some semblance of logic -- logic being a loose term these musical-comedy days -- DiPietro turned to the Shakespeare comedies Twelfth Night and As You Like It, wherein women dress up as men to woo the guys they desire and love letters are sent by way of go-betweens. Obviously on a roll, DiPietro also threw in references to the tragedies Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet, and to the notion of music being the food of love.
Then, in a continuing fit of lifting from other sources, DiPietro -- who's still raking in the shekels from his long-running, international cash cow I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change -- helped himself to bits and pieces of Footloose, Bye Bye Birdie, Mamma Mia!, and even the Arthur Laurents-Stephen Sondheim musical Anyone Can Whistle, whose villain is a mayoress. But, hey, Shakespeare himself was only too pleased to raid previous works for helpful ideas. We should also keep in mind the old remark about there being only seven plots in all of literature. DiPietro may be doing nothing worse than paying homage to already successful and sorta-successful entities. The question is whether he's merely shaken the ingredients that he's gathered or whether what he's done is shakin'. It's a bit of both.
The 60th anniversary of Zilker Theatre Productions.
July 06 - August 18, 2018
2201 Barton Springs Road
Austin, TX, 78704
8:15 p.m., Thursdays - Sundays
Free admission -- hillside lawn; blankets and low stadium chairs encouraged