Bike Lubed and Tank Filled, All Shook Up Will Tour in 2006-07

By Kenneth Jones
March 8, 2006

All Shook Up, the Broadway musical that married a fresh story to songs made famous by Elvis Presley, will be launched on a national tour starting Sept. 12 in Milwaukee, has learned.

The Equity production will play 35 cities in 2006-07, including Orlando, Philadelphia, Denver, Houston, Atlanta, Minneapolis and Fort Lauderdale. Christopher Ashley, who directed the brightly colored Broadway production, which had a six-month run at the Palace Theatre in 2004-05, will again direct.

No casting has been announced. The Broadway design team, including David Rockwell, is expected to be represented. Richard Martini is the tour's producer.

All Shook Up has an original book by Joe DiPietro (I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change). He created a tale of a drab 1950s-era American town that comes to life when a handsome stranger no, not Elvis comes to town on his motorcycle, bringing a new kind of music in his wake. (Recalling Shakespearean comedies such as A Midsummer Night's Dream and Twelfth Night, there are multiple love stories involved, including a central relationship that has a woman disguised as a man in order to get close to her object of desire. Music has a kind of magic power over the characters.)

Among the Presley tunes heard in the show were "Heartbreak Hotel," "Burning Love," "Love Me Tender," "Can't Help Falling in Love," "Jailhouse Rock," "Blue Suede Shoes," "A Little Less Conversation," "Hound Dog," "Don't Be Cruel" and "All Shook Up." A cast album was released in spring 2005.

One of the selling points of the Broadway run was the potent work of music supervisor/arranger Stephen Oremus (Wicked), who flirted with rock, soul, gospel and rockabilly when addressing songs written by many composers and lyricists (Elvis tended to sing the work of other writers).

The Broadway cast included Cheyenne Jackson, Jenn Gambatese, Jonathan Hadary, Leah Hocking, Curtis Holbrook, Nikki M. James, John Jellison, Alix Korey, Mark Price and Sharon Wilkins.

Among the engagements already announced are Orlando's Carr Performing Arts Center Oct. 24-29, Houston's Hobby Center Nov. 7-19, Fort Lauderdale's Broward Center Nov. 22-Dec. 3, Atlanta's Fox Theatre May 1-6, Minneapolis' Orpheum Theatre May 8-13. Milwaukee's Marcus Center hosts the launch starting Sept. 12.

The Broadway run of All Shook Up ended Sept. 25, 2005. It began previews Feb. 20 with an official opening March 24. The musical played 33 previews and 213 regular performances.