Community Theatre takes Elvis to stage with musical production
Wise men say only fools rush in, but you won't be able to help falling in love with Canby Community Theatre's new musical.
In its 24th year of summer productions, Canby Community Theatre continues with the musical "All Shook Up" and a short children's musical "Brand New Day" opening this weekend at Richard R. Brown Fine Arts Center.
"All Shook Up" is a musical comedy that takes place in 1955, featuring songs by Elvis Presley. It is written by Joe DiPietro and inspired by Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night."
Canby's team includes Craig Holbrook as director, Rachel Keen as producer, Rebecca Stager as director of music and Don Feely as the district coordinator.
The lead actors are Cody Clark as Dennis, Randy Hamilton as Jim, Sara Hoffman as Sylvia, Cade Holbrook as Chad and Kaylin Williford as Natalie.
"I'm enjoying the cast greatly," Holbrook said, "and I know many of them from years' past and from the high school. Cade, who is playing Chad...he's my son."
Of course, all of the characters mirror characters from "Twelfth Night," and Holbrook threw in some nods to Shakespeare too. The character Matilda wears yellow stockings in the second act as a connection to Shakespeare's Malvolio, who also wears yellow stockings; and the name on the stage platform and on the jukebox read "Illyria," which is the setting for Shakespeare's play.
"My concept with that is that since the author used the structure, the plot of 'Twelfth Night' of Shakespeare, that I wanted the set to have the same structure as Shakespeare," Holbrook said. "So, if you look at it and take all the color away, it looks like the Elizabethan down at Ashland or the Globe Theater in London. And then I dressed it so it looks like an old jukebox. So it has kind of the skeleton of a Shakespearean playhouse, but decorated to look like an old jukebox."
Holbrook is excited about the play for many reasons, including its message.
"I love the story of inclusion, of discovering who you are, and accepting yourself for who you are," Holbrook said, "and then accepting others for who they are."
He added, "It's a story that ends in joy, and I think makes you feel good as you walk out of the theater. And I think we kind of all need that right now."
Woven in this year is "Brand New Day," a children's musical written by Holbrook and directed and choreographed by Angela Baker. The first act will kick off the combined show, the second act hits the stage after intermission, and the children will also appear in the last scene of "All Shook Up."
"It's all Elvis music also, and they're doing the Vegas 200, so they're all coming to Las Vegas," Holbrook said. "They open with 'Viva Las Vegas,' and they sing 'Speedway' and 'Spinout'; and starting the second act, they're doing a race around the audience.
"They're having a ball, and I think people are really going to enjoy that also," Holbrook said.
The play runs Aug. 3-4 and Aug. 9-11 with shows beginning at 7 p.m. There will also be a matinee on Saturday, Aug. 4 at 2 p.m.
Tickets are $12 and can be purchased in advance online, at Cutsforth's Thriftway or at the door at the time of the show for cash only.