Musical featuring the songs of Elvis opens at 7 p.m. on Nov. 19

by Jim Boyle

Editor

Zimmerman High School students’ fingerprints are all over the school’s production of “All Shook Up,” a jukebox musical featuring the hits of Elvis Presley.

Or would it be “toeprints”?

The play is being directed by Jon Palashewski with the help of St. Paul choreographer Antonia Perez, who has been responsible for choreographing the dance moves for six songs. Students, however, have also been tasked with the choreography for another seven numbers in the show based on the musical’s book, by Joe Dipietro. The set designer is also a student.

The show will include about two dozen songs in all. It opens at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19, at the Zimmerman Middle/High School Auditorium, 25900 4th St. W., Zimmerman, with encore performances at the school at 7 p.m. Nov. 20 and 2 p.m. Nov. 21. Tickets are available at https://bit.ly/3CjjcPD.

Joey Kirk, a Zimmerman High School senior, plays the main character, Chad. He enters a sleepy town and does like the title suggests: “He shakes it all up,” Palashewski said.

The year is 1955, and the guitar-playing roustabout rides into a small Midwestern town and changes everything and everyone he meets.

“It’s kind of like ‘Footloose,’” Palashewski said.

This hip-swiveling, lip-curling musical fantasy sends people back in time for classics like “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Hound Dog,” “Jailhouse Rock,” and “Don’t Be Cruel.”

Kirk, the president of the Zimmerman High School drama club, and fellow actor Ivy Tuttle, a sophomore and dance captain at the school, turned out to this week’s Elk River Area School Board to promote the show.

Tuttle said it’s the drama program’s first show after two years of “weird” theater.

“We’re coming back, and we’re just really excited to show you all,” she said.

“This is a really fun show for all ages,” Kirk added.

The play draws parallels to Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night,” as characters fall for one another, but things don’t shake out the way one might first hope or expect.

Addie McBrook, another Zimmerman High School senior, is cast as Natalie, a mechanic who takes a look at Chad’s motorcycle after it breaks down. Drawn to him, she hatches a plan to become his sidekick.

Tuttle plays Miss Sandra, a caretaker of the town’s museum. She catches Chad’s eye but wants nothing to do with him. Things get even more convoluted from there in this high-energy production.

Tuttle and Taylor Stelten, both of whom have dance backgrounds, were students behind the choreography of seven numbers.

“We’re really proud of what we created,” Tuttle said.

Rhylee Reimann, a junior who handles technical aspects of the show, has provided set design.

Zimmerman High School continues to collaborate with the Hennepin Theater Trust, a program designed to encourage musical theater in high schools. Not only do professionals come out to the rehearsals to offer tips, they send professionals to the shows to evaluate them and consider the cast and crew for individual and group awards. ZHS students and program have been honored in the past.

“It’s nice for the kids to be recognized,” Palashewski said, noting the students involved in spring and fall plays do not compete against other schools.

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