Tuesday, April 22, 2014


The essence of Elvis may have left  the building if we’re talking about Graceland or Nashville, but you can find his spirit  at Torrington's Warner Theatre weekends where the music and magic is “All Shook Up.”  A  musical comedy conceived by Joe DiPietro, inspired by and saluting the songs of Elvis Presley, will have you swiveling your hips, donning a black leather jacket or a pink poodle skirt and a pair of beautiful blue suede shoes, until Sunday, May 11.

Think “Footloose” meets “Cyrano de Bergerac,” collides with “A Midsummer’s Night Dream,” with a touch of “Romeo and Juliet” and you’ll be close to what happens in a small Midwestern town in 1955 where a opinionated and prejudiced Mayor Matilda Hyde keeps a tight rein on everybody’s actions and thoughts.

Prescribing to the Mamie Eisenhower Decency Decrees, the Mayor has forbidden loud music, tight pants, dancing, public necking and any interracial dating.  Her moral compass is stuck at zero tolerance.  The calm and quiet is disturbed and disrupted when a stranger rides into town on a motorcycle and begins to question the stable and staid status quo. Chad is a rebel and a roustabout and proud of it, and he will change the town whether it’s ready or not.

Chad has such an effect on the local auto mechanic Natalie that she disguises herself as Ed to win his approval and affection.  When it comes to being cool, town folks like Natalie’s dad Jim  and her good friend Dennis  line up to take lessons.  When Chad thinks Miss Sondra  is the cat’s meow, he sends Ed to woo her, only to have Sondra fancy herself smitten by Ed instead.

Meanwhile Sylvia, who runs the local malt shop, tries to give friendly advice to Jim as well as look after her daughter Lorraine  who finds herself falling for the mayor’s son Dean, one of those big no-nos, forbidden relationships, until Sheriff Earl  stands up to the mayor and helps ensure that “all’s well that ends well.”

More than two dozen great Elvis tunes like “Jailhouse Rock,” “Hound Dog,” “Teddy Bear,” “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Don’t Be Cruel” and “Burning Love,” under the musical direction of Aaron J. Bunel, keep the rafters rocking.  This fine cast, under the direction of Sharon A. Wilcox, who also does the choreography, provides hunka, hunka happy times. They all work to keep the joint jumpin'.

For tickets ($18-26), call The Warner, 68 Main Street, Torrington at 860-489-7180  or online at boxstaff@warnertheatre.org.  Performances are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Say "I Love Mom" for a special buy one, get one offer on Mother's Day, Sunday, May 11 only.

You “Can’t Help Fallin’ in Love” with Chad and the gang as they “Follow That Dream,” declaring “It’s Now or Never.”  Bebop on over to Torrington and enjoy the finger snapping, toe tapping fun.

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