Creative Director’s Notes
Where to begin? First off, this show is the first musical CA has done in over 2 years. The Creative Team started rehearsals in November when the performing arts were shut down again and we were challenged to find new ways to be together and rehearse. Many would say that the star of this show is the music. Those incredible songs made famous by Elvis were arranged beautifully for musical theatre performers. But really, the stars of this show have been this incredible, resilient, and committed group of cast, crew, and creative directors. What you are about to see tonight, is not just a labor of love on so many levels, but also a lesson in leadership, mentorship, community, and learning from each other. The product of this show truly represents the heart of what we do at CA.
The Senior School drama department has been blessed this year with an outstanding Creative Team. One could say we “Can’t Help Falling in Love” with each and every one of them for the insights they all brought to this production. Becky Funk and Jane Conrad spent hours with our singers working on every harmony and rhythm because these beautiful arrangements are not easy. The color and energy in this show come from the choreography – that incredible joy we could all use right now just exploding through that fourth wall. Our choreographer, Hayley Jonason, with her magic approach to musical theatre choreography, not only gave the kids the skills they needed to perform but also gave them the courage and confidence to stand tall on that stage as you see them now. Our two student choreographers, Anne-Marie and Allison, took the lead as Dance Captains but also helped to create some of the choreography you will see. Charlotte Nixon and Andrew Rigby helped to bring the play to life with their focus on storytelling, characters, and motivation. They managed this both online and in-person, dividing groups and making accommodations with all the rehearsal restrictions. And of course our student director, Lindsay C. with her outstanding organization skills and commitment to doing all things excellent. Her insight and detailed directing style is responsible for the success of this show. Of course, our incredibly detailed student Stage Manager, Kai W., has kept us all in line in times when we needed the most direction. The incredible paintings, props, and cartoon-feel to the show, bringing all the dimensions to our otherwise flat set were created by the talented Jamie Lafond. We wanted to use colour and lights creatively to not just illustrate location, but to represent the light and hope these townspeople begin to experience—particularly relevant in this moment as we are all beginning to have hope and start to see the light at the end of this pandemic. Bob Tolsma, with his photography students, captured the moments and smiles we have been so excited to see on our student’s faces as they lit up the stage after so long. And the cast. We had so much to overcome. But through it all, this cast has become a family, a team. There is nothing that can compare to a cast and crew that has become a true family both on stage and off. And when you hear the music, you will hear that these performers are all in: vulnerable, transparent, and real. Performing straight from their hearts.
Over the past few weeks, I have heard the students singing Elvis in the hallway. I have even heard staff begin to hum some of the tunes you will hear tonight. At first, some found it tremendously ironic that All Shook Up was chosen for this year come back musical. But, you will see tonight that at the heart of All Shook Up are the themes of taking risks, challenging the status quo, and falling in love. When questioned, people think of the 1950s as being America’s “Golden Age.” However, the problems of gender inequality, racial discrimination, religious limitations, and homophobia were swirling in this country’s undercurrent and waiting to surface. The driving music of Chuck Berry, Ray Charles, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Elvis was not only reflective of that discontentment but also of the hope that there were better days ahead. This message of joy, pain, and resolve resonated around the world. So what is this show really about? Why did we choose to do this show? Well, in more ways than one, this show is driven by LOVE. Love is Love, and it has been a joy to watch this group of performers learn to love themselves, each other, and all humans no matter their unique differences. You can feel the pulse of it vibrating through each actor, each of our creative team members, and each of our student creators. It creates a palette that is bright with a variety of reds, yellows, oranges, greens, purples, and always, always BLUE! Even if you aren’t a fan of Elvis (or William Shakespeare), we hope that you respond to the love that permeates through this entire production. And as in the words of Elvis Presley, “if I can dream of a warmer sun, where hope keeps shining on everyone” then I too know that that sun will appear. There is hope. And who knows? Perhaps in a couple of days, you will find yourself humming an Elvis tune, as well.
Production Creative Director, Drama Teacher