The Hippo


Jun 2, 2020








Sal Pavia (Chad) and Brendan Malafronte (Dennis). Courtesy Palace Theatre.

See All Shook Up 

Where: Palace Theatre, 80 Hanover St., Manchester
When: Friday, Oct. 31, at 7:30 p.m., with shows through Saturday, Nov. 15, at 2 p.m.; visit, call 668-5588 for showtimes
Admission: $15 to $45

Shakin’ it up
For lovers of Elvis, Shakespeare and Footloose

By Kelly Sennott

Dennis is in love with his best friend Natalie. Natalie is in love with Chad, the motorcycle-riding roustabout who’s just arrived in town, and Chad is in love with Miss Sandra, the sexy woman who runs a nearby museum. Miss Sandra, however, only has eyes for Natalie.

The only issue: Miss Sandra thinks Natalie is a guy named Ed.
This weekend, the Palace Theatre brings back All Shook Up, a fast-paced, silly musical directed by Carl Rajotte. The play, written in 2004 by Joe DiPietro, actually premiered at New York’s Palace Theatre in 2005, and it came to Manchester’s Palace in 2008. 
It’s a blend of things many audience members will enjoy, includimg music by Elvis Presley. Every big hit you know Elvis for — “Jailhouse Rock,” “Hound Dog,” “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” “A Little Less Conversation” and of course, “All Shook Up” — is in this dance-heavy Palace rendition. 
“My parents are actually coming up from Florida — my dad loves Elvis, and they love this show,” said Brendan Malafronte between rehearsals last week. He’s returned to the Palace after a successful run of The Full Monty in September to play Dennis.
“It’s a popular show because it’s Elvis,” he said. “You want to throw as much Elvis flair in the show as you possibly can. … You’ve got to have some good pelvic action going on. … And it’s not clean. It’s got a dirtier, growling sound.”
The production also plays off Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, a tale of love triangles, heartbreak, mistaken identities and cross-dressing. Throw in a bit of Footloose, a bit of Grease, and you’ve got All Shook Up.
The story occurs in the 1950s and begins when a guy named Chad is released from prison, only to realize, once on the road, that he needs a mechanic. He stops in a dreary little town where loud music, necking and tight pants are prohibited. His visit causes a stir, to say the least. 
All of a sudden, it’s as though the water has been polluted with love potion: Chad goes to Natalie, a young mechanic who dreams of love and adventure. Her nerdy best friend Dennis is secretly in love with her, but when she meets Chad, she becomes smitten.
Chad, however, seems to have developed eyes for someone else. In fact, everyone seems to be falling in love, and they’re all wooing one another with Elvis songs.
So, to get Chad alone, Natalie devises a plan.
“To get close to this roustabout fella, she disguises herself as a man, which is just silly. She puts motor oil on her face, and suddenly, everybody believes it! It’s like Superman with the glasses,” Malafronte said. 
The show, Malafronte said, is almost like a farce. Once things get “shook up,” the play explodes in bright colors and indecency. 
But the actors say it’s fun. At the time of their interviews, cast members all had Elvis songs stuck in their heads.
Malafronte’s was the “Teddy Bear”/“Hound Dog” mash-up. Ashley Kelley’s was “Heartbreak Hotel.”
Kelley plays the local bar owner, Sylvia. The Long Island native (who lives in Portsmouth) makes her Palace Theatre debut with this show, but she’s played Sylvia before. She acted in the Seacoast Repertory Theatre’s rendition in 2010 and in a New York production last year. (Fun fact: the woman playing Sylvia’s daughter Lorraine, Brittney Mack, also played her in the same Seacoast Rep show.)
What makes this show distinct among the others she’s performed in? The dancing.
“It’s very fast-paced, upbeat with a lot of movement,” Kelley said. 
Sal Pavia, who plays Chad, returns after Palace stints in Grease and Footloose. His favorite number is “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” 
“I have to say, jukebox musicals are so easily relatable,” Pavia said. “They bring new life to these songs. You can see the audiences kind of re-connect with the music. It takes them back.”
As seen in the October 30, 2014 issue of the Hippo. 

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