MARSHALL - Songs by the "King of Rock 'n' Roll" and the mid-1950s are providing a backdrop for the next production of the Marshall Area Stage Company.
The Marshall Area Stage Company is presenting the musical "All Shook Up," featuring the songs of Elvis Presley, at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and Thursday-Saturday, June 26-28, and 2 p.m. Sunday, June 29, in the Schwan Community Center for the Performing Arts.
"All Shook Up" is loosely based on William Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night," said Sara Mills, who plays Sylvia.
Photo by Cindy Votruba
Kyle Havlicek, left, and Luke Schroeder rehearse a scene from Marshall Area Stage Company’s production of the musical “All Shook Up”
"Which was very controversial at the time," Mills said. "It also had a lot of fun ideas that we get to do in this show, like the mistaken identities, falling in and out of love with random people. There's a lot of comedy to it."
The premise of the show is about a young female mechanic named Natalie who works for her widowed father, Jim. She wants to escape life in the small town they live in when a young "roustabout" named Chad roars into town after being released from prison. His motorcycle needs work, and Natalie, who is smitten by Chad, agrees to work on it. Chad asks about excitement in the town and learns that the mayor has strict rules - no loud music and no indecent behavior. Chad feels he has to shake things up in the small town.
Kyle Havlicek, who portrays Jim, usually is behind the scenes for Southwest Minnesota State University's theater productions. The last time he was on stage was in high school, he said.
"I have a pretty good stage management resume built up through college," he said. "I figured that having an acting resume on the side would be a good idea, especially if I'm moving to New York."
Havlicek said it's very weird seeing the difference between being backstage and onstage.
"But I now know I can relate to my actors better when I stage manage," he said.
"It's a very big jump, and I was very intimidated at first, but everyone's encouraging," Havlicek said about acting.
Crystal Enga plays Natalie, Jim's daughter.
"I took a break from theater, and I started doing it again," Enga said. She had decided to give sports a try, but found that she really enjoys theater.
Enga actually plays a dual role in the show, where she takes on a male character, Ed.
"Playing two different people is challenging, but it's been really fun to explore and learn new things," she said. "I"m gaining a lot more confidence."
It's been a few years since John Verly has been onstage for a Marshall Area Stage Company production. In "All Shook Up," he plays a 16-year-old boy named Dean.
"It feels good to be back," he said. "I'll admit it's fun being goofy, the comic relief."
Mills' character is the no-nonsense owner of a honky-tonk.
"I think that the character of Sylvia allows for attitude, and I love that," Mills said.
The actors said that being in a musical that is mainly Elvis tunes has been fun.
"It's been a really different adventure for me," Enga said about being in the musical. "I didn't know any Elvis songs."
Mills said she grew up listening to Elvis music.
"I would fall asleep in the backseat of the car," she said, and her father would play Elvis CDs.
"I didn't realize some of the songs he sung," Verly said, adding that the show includes several of Presley's pop songs. "It's easy to build a play around."
The cast members said they're excited for the show to hit the stage.
"I really think there's a lot of talented people here who are really working hard," Verly said. He credited music director Sue Schreier for offering extra help, even at the Note Gallery.
"It's definitely a fun play, people are going to enjoy it," Enga said. "It's fun intertwining the cast, meting everyone and gaining chemistry as we go."
"I just love the show," Mills said. "Even if you don't like theater, you should love the music. It's Elvis. He's the King."
Advanced tickets are $8 for students and senior citizens and $10 for regular admission and available at Hy-Vee, County Fair, the Note Gallery, MAFAC and at mascmn.org. Tickets at the door are $10 for students and senior citizens and $12 for regular admission.