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Wild as a Bug



According to an old musician's adage, the three hardest dates you'll ever gig are Christmas, Easter, and Memphis. Apparently, we're musically spoiled here in Soulsville, U.S.A., and that's why it will be particularly interesting to see the Bluff City's response to All Shook Up, which opens at The Orpheum on March 13th. The Elvis-themed show weaves 20 of the King's biggest hits into a story about a guitar-slinging roustabout who shows up in a square little town where having too much fun is strictly forbidden. As jukebox musicals go, it isn't bad, but the expression "coals to Newcastle" does spring to mind.

For diehard Elvis fans, singer, dancer, and "Perfect Buns" infomercial host Susan Anton brings a splash of color to the Broadway tour. After partying with Tom Jones, Presley once invited the leggy blond and near-miss for Miss America 1969, back to his bedroom. There -- as legend has it -- he behaved like a perfect gentleman, reading his favorite passages from Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet.

All Shook Up draws its inspiration from a pair of unlikely sources. The lightly drawn plot is a hybrid of Shakespeare's Measure for Measure and Twelfth Night, with a great big shout out to John Waters' Hairspray. But can the raw sounds of early rock-and-roll still hold their edge when they've been turned into show tunes? Can tight choreography capture the itchy moves of a man on a fuzzy tree? Does anybody even know what that means?

"All Shook Up," The Orpheum, 203 S. main (525-5499) Tuesday-Sunday, March 13th-18th, $10-$65

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