Last Tuesday I attended MSU’s Tent Theater production of All Shook Up. My mother-in-law works for the university and scored some free tickets (ah the sweet, sweet perks of knowing people, an art which I am terrified to master). For anyone not familiar with Tent Theater, the Drama Department sets up a tent in the middle of a field by the university and puts on musicals,usually for a sold out crowd.
Now, I really didn’t know what to expect as I had never seen a production by the college. As I took the atmosphere in, a sense of nervous excitement permeated the crowd. I saw then the stage props and lighting exceeded my expectations. The stage was meant to look like a jail, in the fashion of “Jailhouse Rock”, and it conjured that song to my memory. This was the first of many surprises.
The musical was delightful in a romping sort of way. It was very campy, as I assume musicals tend to be (I don’t expect a world in which people burst into song every three minutes to be anything otherwise). I could tell the lead actor was having a hard time getting an Elvis persona as he was meant to; he seemed more a softer singer I would have liked to see play Raoul in Phantom of the Opera. The lead actress was quirky and likable, and had a strong yet feminine voice.
The character who stole the show in my opinion was a fiery black woman who played the owner of a diner. She seemed to get the most reactions from the audience, and for good reason. Her comedic timing was excellent, and boy did that lady have some pipes. When she sang it almost shook the tent flaps, and I definitely had some goose pimples pop up all over my body every time she belted it out.
As for the choreography, it was well executed and it appeared the cast had practiced well. I noticed no errors there.
To top off the experience, Andy’s provided tubs and tubs of frozen custard ranging from vanilla to peanut butter cup. Being a purist but a lover of all things fruit, I chose strawberry. As I used my white plastic spoon to dig into the delicious cold treat, I watched the second act of the musical. As the lead actor and actress were expressing their love for one another, it aroused in me the delusion that I also wanted to be in a musical. I began to examine how I would go about achieving my new-found dream. Towards the end of the show, when several of the actors were getting married and were necking quite vigorously onstage, I decided my husband would probably not approve of my endeavors in the musical or acting world. Coming to this realization, I was content to enjoy the last bit of my strawberry frozen custard and let the real players play.
Overall, the experience at Tent Theater was pleasant and quite romantic. I knew MSU’s Drama Department would put on a great show, but I was happily surprised at how good a show it was.
To see what other productions Tent Theater will be showing this summer, click here
Nancy likes long walks and fat, fluffy cats.