'All Shook Up' is a classic story

Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Kelsey Keny plays opposite Dean Parks in 'All Shook Up.'

Boy meets girl is one of the basic story lines for all good tales told to audiences so they can identify with the characters, and so it is with "All Shook Up," the latest production of the Children's Division of the Marshall County Community Theatre on Lewisburg's public square.

Opening Thursday for a six-day run, the play is "about teenagers falling in love and adults forbidding it because it's the 1950s," according to Adrienne Carden, 16, daughter of Allison and Jeremy Arko of West Church Street. "But one guy comes in and shows that it's alright to be with somebody else."

Carden plays Lorraine, daughter of Sylvia. The teen's character is a hopeless romantic who does find romance. Dean Hyde, played by Jonathan Salines, is Lorraine's love interest. They sing a duet; "It's Now or Never," because he's going off to a boarding school and she's left behind. The song is about their first kiss.

"All Shook Up" posters proclaim the musical is "All Elvis." But, when the leading character, Chad, portrayed by Dean Parks, 17, son of Debby and Jack Parks of the Brick Church Community in Giles County, enters on a motorcycle, the image is as much of the king of rock 'n' roll, as a cross between Marlon Brando and James Dean -- as in "The Wild Ones" and "Rebel Without a Cause."

As a prop, the motorcycle is notable. It's for sale. Contact Dan Bennington, the program advises. Parks, however, has a word for prospective buyers: "It doesn't work," and it landed on stage courtesy of Carol Bennington.

The show starts with "Jailhouse Rock." Then, Chad comes into a town where the mayor, Matilda Hyde, portrayed by Heather Blake, "has all these decency laws," Parks says.

During one break in rehearsal, Carden was asked if she thought the portrayal of the 1950s is accurate, considering some general public yearning for a return to those good old days.

"Probably in a small town like this one, but they have to accept change because change is part of life," Carden replied. "There are pros and cons to it," she said of taking America back to what it was.

Carden says casting Parks as Chad was perfect: "They couldn't have selected anyone better."

Parks on stage, however, appears quite different from a Justin Bieber-like mop-head who, according to a recent publicity release, had a haircut by Rascal Flatts.

"Ben hears the 'Bieber-look-alike' all the time," his mother, Debby, confides. "He's not that fond of it, but I have to admit and I told him that Bieber was lucky to look like Ben Parks.

"Hopefully when his hair style is different in the play," she said, "he will have more of the John Stamos from (the ABC sitcom) 'Full House' look."

The public could judge by comparing who they see at the Fairview Market where Ben works, and then going to the old Dixie theater to see "All Shook Up."

Ben Parks says, "It's got a good story to it."

Actually, there's more than one "boy meets girl" story line. "They have leading couples in the play," Carden explains.

Supporting the Children's Division of the Marshall County Community Theatre on Saturday morning was Mary Farley who was buying tickets.

"I come to all the plays, usually on opening night," Farley said.

She can't make it Thursday this week, she said. "It's kind of unusual to open on a Thursday night."

The reason is because the show is running six straight days before, during and after this weekend, coming up. It's harder to have a show on two weekends because of the time commitment for so many people. Count them. There are dozens involved from the stage to the orchestra pit, the soundboard and the light board at the balcony.

Mary Farley and her husband, Ray, have been in several productions. He's been treasurer of the organization. They're both on the theatre's board of directors ever since the building was purchased.