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Dundalk Community Theatre All Shook Up

By • May 9th, 2012 • Category: Reviews
All Shook Up
Dundalk Community Theatre
CCBC Dundalk Campus, Baltimore, MD
Through May 13th
2:20 with one intermission
$23/$20 Seniors/$15 Student or Child
Reviewed May 4th, 2012

“A Little Less Conversation, A Little More Action Please.” That’s exactly what Dundalk Community Theatre’s production of the Elvis Presley Jukebox musical All Shook Up devilishly delivers: song after song, brilliantly imaginative dance number after dance number, and one outstanding performance after another.

Ok, so the story. Well, imagine Footloose meets Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. All Shook Up is a new musical comedy built around a number of songs made famous by Elvis Presley. It’s not a biographical revue. It takes place in 1955, somewhere in middle America, where one girl’s dream and a surprise visit from a mysterious leather-jacketed, guitar-playing stranger help a small town to discover the magic of romance and the power of rock & roll. Among the 24 songs featured in the score are classics like “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Love Me Tender,” “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” and, of course, the title tune.

Logan Burke (Natalie Haller/Ed) and Christopher H. Zargarbashi (Chad) star as the romantic love interests. Zargarbashi is perfectly cast as the young (ala Elvis) Roustabout with a gorgeous velvet voice and looks to match. Though a bit nervous at the opening of the show, that quickly all disappears and he becomes alive and delivers a strong performance. Logan, who is very natural and comfortable on stage, does well going from Natalie to Ed with ease; however, there were some major vocal challenges, especially on the lower alto arrangements. Still, her acting and comic timing were stellar. Jim Baxter (Dennis) nails it all: the acting, the singing, the dancing. With beautiful nuances and tender physical comedy, he is one of the standouts of the supporting cast. Brian Jacobs (Jim Haller) also takes no prisoners. A seasoned veteran of the stage, Jacobs’s beautiful voice and rubbery, expressive face is a thing of joy. Rikki Howie (Sylvia) is superb, delivering most of the show’s ballads with a silky, sultry voice and a dose of attitude.

Joelle Atkinson (Loraine) is flawless! A senior in high school, Atkinson’s talent is way beyond her years. (See you on Broadway, girl!) Jake Stuart (Dean Hyde) is absolutely charming and beautifully honest in his performance with a beautiful tenor voice and great chemistry with Atkinson. It’s a beautiful sight. Mary Elizabeth Mullin (Mayor Matilda Hyde) is a hoot: full of energy and dedication to the role. She makes a great “Villain” and brings down the house with “Devil in Disguise.” Rebecca Garrahy (Miss Sandra) elegantly portrays the bombshell of the show; however, some tender and comic moments are lost in the too big personality of the character. A little bit less would have been a bit more. Her vocals were spotless. Bobby Mahoney (Sheriff Earl) spends practically the entire show in silence with a lollypop in his mouth, shadowing and following orders of Mayor Hyde until the very end, when he bursts in with a hilarious, perfectly timed monologue and sets the mayor straight. (Well done, sir!)

On top of all that, there is a brilliant, vibrant, talented, energetic, limber, versatile, vocally flawless ensemble. That elevates the show and makes it a brilliant spectacle.

Director Rob W. Oppel creates a great evening of entertainment with imaginative staging, creative direction, a strong, fully executed vision and a perfect artistic and production team. Words can not describe the amazing, innovative, fun, creative, difficult and perfect choreography of Vincent Musgrove, the beautiful and majestic vocal direction of Russell Gartner, the superb, perfectly designed and built colorful set of Technical Director Marc W. Smith, and a cornucopia of detailed, period perfect, innovative, gorgeous costumes from legendary costume master James J Fasching.

So “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Let Yourself Go,” put on your “Blue Suede Shoes,” and treat yourself to All Shook Up.

Cast

  • Natalie Haller: Logan Burke
  • Chad: Christopher H. Zargarbashi
  • Jim Haller: Brian Jacobs
  • Sylvia: Rikki Howie
  • Lorraine: Joele Atkinson
  • Dennis: Jim Baxter
  • Miss Sandra: Rebecca Garrahy
  • Mayor Matilda Hyde: Mary Elizabeth Mullin
  • Dean Hyde: Jake Stuart
  • Sheriff Earl: Bobby Mahoney
  • Henrietta: Lissa Pastella-Young
  • Townspeople: Keiron Green, Michael Rostek, Tracey Michelle Zimmerman, Libby Burges, Kelsey Luchey, Laura May, Danielle Lott, Derek Cooper, Lauren Everd, Quae Simpson, Lisa Pastella-Young

Production

  • Director: Robert W. Oppel
  • Scenic/Lighting Design/Technical Direction: Marc W. Smith
  • Vocal Director: Russell Gartner
  • Choreographer: Vincent Musgrave
  • Orchestra Conductor/Manager: Tim Viets
  • Rehearsal Accopmanist: Chris Rose
  • Costume Designer: James J. Fasching
  • Stage Manager: Jhon Chrzanowski
  • Properties: Deborah Jennys
  • Scenic Painter: Irene Sitoski
  • Sound Design & Board Operator: Terry Edwards
  • Costume Construction: Della Lotman
  • Costume Assistant: Bill Lotman
  • Costume Rentals: A. T. Jones, Toby’s Dinner Theatre
  • Orchestra Members: Tim Viets, Chris Rose, Corey Hewitt, Robert Delisle, Steven Haaser, Helen Schlaich, Tony Neenan, Bernard Robier, Will Brumbach

Disclaimer: Dundalk Community Theatre provided three complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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worked for twenty years as a professional actor and director, as well as worked a myriad of other theatrical production roles at various levels. In recent years, he served as Artistic Director/President of STROyKA Theatre in Washington, DC. Roman privately teaches acting, voice, and piano and serves as a consultant to various groups and schools. His primary role is stay-at-home dad and full-time college student. He also directs the Voices Unlimited Youth Choir at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in Bel Air, MD.

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