‘All Shook Up’ hits all the right notes

by Julie Grabowski
Tri-City Voice – August 6, 2013

The jukebox of Ohlone’s outdoor amphitheatre is cranked up and rocking to StarStruck Theatre’s “All Shook Up,” a 2004 musical comedy inspired by the King of Rock and Roll himself.

It’s summer 1955 in a small Midwestern town, which has been labeled “the most depressing place on earth” by young mechanic Natalie Haller. No loud music is allowed, no tight pants, and most of all – no public necking. When roustabout Chad rides in on his motorcycle, guitar slung across his back with a song in his soul and a love for the ladies, he ignites the spirit of the town in a flame of romance, love, and rock and roll. Hearts jump around fast and furious in a period of 24 hours as town members young and old learn to stand up for who they are and what they want.

Based on Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” and told through the songs of Elvis Presley, “All Shook Up” is a powerhouse of humor, outstanding vocals, lively dance numbers, and simply great entertainment. Jacob Woll wears the confident and cool appeal of Chad as easily as his leather jacket. With his great voice and magnetic presence he’s a perfect fit for the roll, making just cause for the bevy of swooning, collapsing girls. Giddy over the town’s new arrival, Karina Simpson is sweet and funny as Natalie, but shines a little brighter after her transformation into Ed. She packs a punch in “A Little Less Conversation” and “Fools Fall In Love” and grows along with her character in appeal and maturity.

Katherine Dela Cruz (Sylvia) and Cheyenne Wells (Lorraine) are a splendid mother-daughter team with all the friction and sparks of the relationship. The two are dazzling in character and song, shining in “That’s All Right” and the outstanding Dela Cruz simply gorgeous in “There’s Always Me.”

Paulo Gladney is a sheer delight as the sweet and brainy, dental school-bound Dennis, and makes the most of his moment in the spotlight with “It Hurts Me.” Kelsey Findlay electrifies every scene she is in as museum worker Sandra, a perfect package of class, humor, and consuming passion. Her voice rockets into the show with a fun tug-of-war in “Hound Dog/Teddy Bear” with Woll, and makes its mark again in the hilarious “Let Yourself Go.”

The cast is rounded out by the equally pleasing and talented Zachary Baker (Jim Haller), Cara Wodka (Mayor Matilda Hyde), and Jonathan Barouch (Dean Hyde). Kudos also go to the ensemble, which does a lot of heavy lifting throughout the show and ties it together in a vibrant, jubilant package.

“All Shook Up” makes clever and fun use of the classic songs, such as the humorous twist of Chad’s unexpected affections in “I Don’t Want To” and characters bursting into “One Night With You” when struck by love. From the standout “Heartbreak Hotel” to the “Burning Love” finale, this show delights from top to bottom and had the audience on their feet.

So Elvis fan or not, grab your coats and blankets, scrounge together some snack money and head out for a top-notch night of live entertainment under the stars.

Tickets for Thursday performances are $19 (left and right sections) and $22 (center section); Friday and Saturday performances are $22 (left and right sections) and $25 (center section). ASL interpretation will be provided for the Friday, August 9 performance. Purchase tickets by calling the StarStruck box office at (510) 659-1319 or ordered online at

All Shook Up
Friday, Aug 2 – Saturday, Aug 17
8 p.m.
Ohlone College Outdoor Amphitheatre
43600 Mission Blvd., Fremont
(510) 659-1319

Buy Tickets

Tickets: $19 – $25