If Elvis impersonators had a union, do you suppose this latest incarnation of the “jukebox musical” could have been prevented? While All Shook Up isn’t as jaw-droppingly inane as Good Vibrations, it does set a new record for puns per second. Book writer Joe DiPietro (of long-running shows The Thing About Men and I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change) isn’t a slave to subtlety. After a hip-swiveling bobby-soxer dance number set to “C’mon Everybody,” the uptight mayor observes, “My gosh, there was just a whole lotta shaking going on.” More than once, someone observes, “Hey, you’re wearin’ blue suede shoes!” to which the shoes’ wearer replies, “Nobody step on ’em.”
Those shoes look like something you’d get at Ann Taylor Loft, and much of the show is similarly unglamorous and mass-produced. Cheyenne Jackson’s Chad, the King-esque biker who cruises into town and instigates a series of love triangles, is certainly no Conrad Birdie. When he’s done making girls faint with his pelvic thrusts, he lectures the town on decency, interracial love, and homosexuality and speaks Brooklyn-esque lines like, “You’re my music now.” The mayor calls him “the devil in disguise,” the townsfolk call him “the roustabout,” but in gait and manner Mr. Jackson’s Chad most closely resembles the wrestler-actor The Rock. At one point he even makes his pecs dance under his black T-shirt. Do you suppose a jukebox musical is in Method Man’s future?
All Shook Up
Book by Joe DiPietro
At The Palace Theatre