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Elvis Comes Back to Life at Bristow Middle School

From left, Edie Kitzman and Jeremy Sabino in a rehearsal scene from The Bristow Players’ production of “All Shook Up.” Photo credit: Keith Griffin

The Bristow Players present “All Shook Up,” featuring a medley of Presley hits wrapped in a Shakespeare theme.

By Keith Griffin

It’s 1955, and into a square little town rides a guitar-playing young man who changes everything and everyone he meets. That’s the premise behind the Broadway musical “All Shook Up,” being presented live at Bristow Middle School in West Hartford, March 21-23.

Loosely based on Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night,” this hip-swiveling, lip-curling musical fantasy features such classics as “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Hound Dog,” “Jailhouse Rock,” and “Don’t Be Cruel.” The show has great roles for girls and boys and an irresistible rock ‘n roll pedigree. This 90-minute Broadway adaptation is tailored for middle-school-age performers and their audiences.

Sloane Williams, a Grade 8 language arts teacher, is the director. Jennifer Omartian, a Grade 8 social studies teacher, is the producer, and Mary McSweeney, orchestra teacher/director, is handling the musical elements. The show features live music at all performances.

Williams said she selected the show because it’s not widely performed. Interestingly, the musical was originally workshopped here in Connecticut at Goodspeed Musicals in East Haddam in 2004. It debuted on Broadway on March 24, 2005, and closed on Sept. 25, 2005, after 213 performances and 33 previews. It last toured nationally in 2007.

“I wanted to do something a little bit different and then because it’s all Elvis songs and with the popularity of his music, I just thought the music is so classic everybody could sing along to it and enjoy it,” Williams said.

Thanks to social media and television commercials, the students in the cast know Presley’s music, even though he passed away in August 1977. Jeremy Sabino, an eighth grader, plays Dean, the tyrannical mayor’s son, who is in love with a girl not approved by his family. He said people will enjoy the music. “There are a lot of enjoyable songs from Elvis. The characters are funny. The sets are really cool and it’s just going to be really fun,” he enthusiastically proclaimed. “This has been a really great experience.”

Eighth grader Helena De Andrade, who portrays another townslady, said she is excited to “create this amazing show.” It is her first time performing with The Bristow Players. A soccer player turned theater performer, she said she enjoys singing the songs and being able to dance.

The director said the show features lots of misunderstandings and love and by the end, it delivers the message to be true to yourself and love supersedes anything else.

“All Shook Up” features a cast of approximately 50 and additional students tasked with backstage duties. Approximately one-quarter of the student population is involved in the production.

Konstantinos Papasavas sits on the floor while listening to Finley Valentine in a rehearsal scene from The Bristow Players’ production of “All Shook Up.” Photo credit: Keith Griffin

Show Info

Dates: Thursday, March 21, 7 p.m.; Friday, March 22, 7 p.m.; and,

Saturday, March 23, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Buy tickets at: showtix4u.com

Cost: $15 reserved seating

Address: Bristow Middle School Auditorium, 34 Highland St., West Hartford


Chad – Konstantinos P.

Natlie Heller/Ed – Ellie J.

Dennis – Micah P.

Dean Hyde – Jeremy S.

Lorraine – Edie K.

Sylvia – Imogen J.

(Lorraine’s Mom)

Miss Sandra – Finley V.

Mayor Matilda Hyde – Gabby W.

Sheriff Earl – Lyric B.

Warden – Max R.

Alex – Ben C.

Bus Driver – Ben M.

Jailhouse Rock Ensemble –

Solo 1: Lilly J .and Alina L.

Solo 2: Ben M. & Hunter J.

Solo 3: Ciara F. & Emma J.

Simone D., Piper Q., Arayna K., Ali B., Quinlan G.

#3: Lilly J.,

#47 Alina L.

Heartbreak Hotel Ensemble – Solo 1: Liz M.

Solo 2: Fiona M.

Solo 3: Lyric B.

Solo 4: Hunter R.

Ben C., Lily S., Payton Q., Reese S.,  James C. Eden B.,Ashley S., Helena D.,  Molly C, Caroline S., Rowan M., Greta K.

C’Mon EveryBody and

“Dream Crossover” – Town lady: Greta K.

Another Town Lady: Helena D

Townsperson: Hunter J.

Townsperson: James C.

C’mon Everybody 4 Girls : Lilly J, Emma J., Ciara F., Alina L.

C’mon Everybody Ensemble – Ben M., Max R., Arayna K. Ali B. Simone D., Piper Q.,Reese S.

Bus passengers Ensemble – Vivi G. Marie G., Greta K., Katie M.,  Monique P-S., Brooke E., Stella G., Adithya R.,  Elisiane A-N. S., Elena S.

Guy 1(Blue Suede) Solo – Max R.

Guy 2(Blue Suede) Solo – Hunter J.

Blue Suede Ensemble – Alina L., Ben M., Emma J., Arayna K., Ali B., Simone D., Piper Q., Payton Q., Quinlan G., Ed B. Lyric B., Lilly J.

Blue Suede Townsfolk 1 Singer – Lily S.

Blue Suede Townsfolk 2 Singer – Ciara F.

Don’t Be Cruel Ensemble Statues – Vivi G., Marie G., Greta K., Katie M.,  Monique P-S., Brooke E., Stella G. Adithya R., Elisiane, Elena S.

All Shook Up Solo Woman – Imogen J.

Angelettes – Lilly J . Hunter J., Ciara F., Piper Q., Ali B., Reese S., Liz M.

Devilettes – Alina L., Emma J., Simone D., Arayna K., Quinlin G., Greta K., Helena D.

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