'All Shook Up' with Elvis tunes


Howard Anderson, left, as Dennis, and Isiah Blount, as Chad, perform in the play “All Shook Up.”

Aida Mallard/Gainesville Guardian
Published: Thursday, October 3, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 at 6:44 p.m.

The Actors' Warehouse 2013-2014 season is up and running, serving up an eclectic menu that is heavy on music and fun, with romance and complicated mother/daughter relationships in the mix

And for the holiday season, Langston Hughes' "Black Nativity" will be making an encore performance after last December's successful run.

Next on the menu is the jukebox musical comedy, "All Shook Up," written by Tony Award-winner Joe DiPietro and directed by Rhonda Wilson, founder and artistic director of The Actors' Warehouse.

Wilson said the music is all from Elvis Presley and the story is set in a small racially divided town in the U.S. in 1955, where Mayor Matilda, played by Whitney Jones, has banned fun, music, dancing and public displays of affection.

But then a leather-jacket wearing, guitar-playing, motorcycle-riding young man changes everything and everyone he meets in this "hip-swiveling, lip-curling fantasy" that will have the audience feet a tappin' with a string of Elvis classics, including "Jailhouse Rock," "Don't Be Cruel," "Love Me Tender," and of course, "All Shook Up."

The play will be performed at 8 p.m. Oct. 11-12, Oct. 17-19 and Oct. 24-26 and 3 p.m. Oct. 13, Oct. 20 and Oct. 27 at The Actors' Warehouse at 608 N. Main St. Tickets, which are $15 general admission and $10 for students and groups, will be based on availability and available online at www.actorswarehouse.org and at the door.

"A young man comes into this little town and shakes things up," said Wilson. "He changes everything and everyone he meets."

The cast will include: Isiah Blount and Bradley Small, double-cast as Chad; Alison Robbins as Natalie; Desiree Salter as Lorraine; Earlene Walker as Sylvia; Nathaniel Von Dolteren as Jim; Howard Anderson as Dennis; Elimar Cruz and Anquetta Carr as Sandra; Whitney Jones as Mayor Matilda; and Esian Hoffert as Dean.

The ensemble will include Jamaili Tyler, Kareena Wallace, Jasmine Fleming, Brandon Hall, Jacquez Crawford, Brittany Crawford and William Crawford.

The Actors' Warehouse 2013-2014 season kicked off last month with "TopDog/UnderDog," a Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Suzan-Lori Parks that was directed by Shontae Khaleel White of Gainesville and garnered rave reviews.

Below are other Warehouse plays of the season:

"Black Nativity": This play by poet Langston Hughes will usher in the holiday season with a retelling of the birth of Christ with gospel songs, pantomime, testimony and folk spirituals. Hughes (1902-1967) is an African-American poet, social activist, novelist and playwright best known for his work during the Harlem Renaissance, a cultural movement that spanned the 1920s and 1930s and expressed African-American heritage through art, literature, music and art.

Directed by White, "Black Nativity" retells the Nativity story in the down-home verse of Langston, and in familiar carols, such as "Joy to the World" and beloved spirituals such as "Go Tell It on the Mountain" and through interpretive modern dance. It will run Dec. 5-15.

"Night Mother": A Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Marsha Norman, it is about a complicated relationship between a mother, Thelma Cates, and her daughter, Jessie Cates, who live together.Jesse feels her life no longer has significant meaning and informs her mother of her critical decision. Directed by Steven H. Butler, "Night Mother" will run from Jan. 24-Feb. 9.

"Sophisticated Ladies": A musical review based on the music of Duke Ellington, it pays tribute to the big-band music of the legendary composer and includes such songs as, "In a Sentimental Mood" and "It Don't Mean a Thing" ("If It Ain't Got That Swing") With a director yet to be named, "Sophisticated Ladies" will run from March 21-April 26.

BOX: WAREHOUSE PLAY

What: “All Shook Up,” a romantic comedy featuring the music of Elvis Presley.

When: 8 p.m. Oct. 11-12, Oct. 17-19 and Oct. 24-26 and 3 p.m. Oct. 13, Oct. 20 and Oct. 27.

Where: The Actors’ Warehouse, 608 N. Main St.

Tickets: $15 general admission and $10 for students and groups.

Information: Call 352-301-5823.

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