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Fort Kent dinner theater production “All Shook Up” will feature Elvis songs

FORT KENT, Maine — The songs of Elvis Presley, fried chicken and some very talented drama students will be featured at three musical dinner theater performances of “All Shook Up” at Fort Kent Community High School in early June. 

The show is lighthearted, loads of fun and suitable for audience members of all ages, director Doug Clapp said.

“All Shook Up,” which premiered on Broadway in 2005, is based on a book written by Joe DiPietro inspired in part by the music of Elvis Presley. 

“You don’t have to love Elvis to enjoy it,” Clapp said. “A lot of these kids didn’t know Elvis but they’re having a ball with it.” 

Clapp said the theme of “All Shook Up” is similar to that of the movie” Footloose”. 

“A rowdy fellow comes to a conservative town that is kind of against music and he shakes the place up,” Clapp said. “Elvis Presley songs fit into the plot.” 

Fort Kent sophomore Olorin Braun Epp plays Chad, the rascally new kid in town. 

Braun Epp has never danced before in a production, but moves like Elvis Presley and even slides down a pole from the second story of a set inspired by Elvis’ iconic 1957 performance of “Jailhouse Rock” on the Ed Sullivan Show.

“This is really fun; this is what I love to do,” Braun Epp said. 

Sophomore Sadie Pelletier choreographed the show during which she and her fellow student castmates will dance to and sing some of Elvis’ most famous songs, including “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Burning Love” and “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” 

Pelletier has studied dance for 13 years and teaches jazz dance to students at Dynamic Reflections Academy in Clair, New Brunswick. 

Fort Kent students Olorin Braun Epp (left) and Oliver Caron rehearse for the musical dinner theater production of All Shook Up. (Jessica Potila | St. John Valley Times)

The 1950s style dancing of the Elvis era contains some elements of jazz dancing, but Pelletier did some research to bring authenticity to the choreography. 

“I watched some videos and studied swing dancing and watched what other schools did with the play,” Pelletier said. 

Dancing and singing on stage is new to sophomore actor Oliver Caron, who said he didn’t know at first if he could pull off these new skills, but working with his fellow actors has increased his confidence. 

“I was reluctant to do it. I wasn’t sure I would be good enough,” Caron said. “I’m very much enjoying this play and now open to dancing and singing on stage.” 

Caron said the experience of rehearsing for “All Shook Up” has made him more open to trying new things in general.

“Everyone here is really supportive and uplifting, always trying to get you into it instead of making you think you’re not doing well.”

For freshman ensemble member Kaylie Nadeau, “All Shook Up” is her first time participating in theater. 

“It’s always been a dream of mine,” Nadeau said. “I’ve watched a lot of [Fort Kent Drama Club] shows and saw how much work they put into them and I loved it. I’ve always wanted to be a part of this.” 

“It’s been really fun. I’ve met a lot of new friends and gained a lot of experience so far,” Nadeau said.

The 1950s inspired menu of fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, a cooked vegetable, salad, bun and hot fudge sundaes for dessert will be served throughout the performances.  

The shows will take place in the high school cafeteria, which will accommodate up to 70 people in compliance with state COVID-19 regulations. Tables will be arranged for groups of up to eight audience members who are comfortable eating with one another without masks. It is important to purchase tickets in advance, so that tables can be organized to suit the COVID-19 rules.

The musical dinner theater production of “All Shook Up” will take place at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, June 3, 4 and 5, at Fort Kent Community High School.

Tickets, which include the performance and meal, are $18 for adults and $14 for students. To purchase tickets and reserve a table, contact a Fort Kent drama student or call the high school at 207-834-5540.

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