The SCAD School of Entertainment Arts will present “All Shook Up,” a show where the songs of Elvis Presley form the backdrop for this musical about a mysterious, leather-jacketed stranger who shakes up a small Midwestern town in the 1950s.
Performances will be March 10-13 at the Lucas Theatre for the Arts.
“All Shook Up” is directed and choreographed by SCAD professors Annie Bridges and Tiffany Evariste, with musical direction by Kevin Wallace.
Bridges and Evariste are no strangers to the world of theater and both bring a mass amount of experience to the show.
Evariste has appeared on Broadway and stages around the world in many shows such as Disney’s smash hit “Aladdin,” the Tony Award-winning “Memphis,” “Leap of Faith,” Disney’s “Mary Poppins” and “Motown: The Musical,” where she played the role of Mary Wilson.
Evariste is a new professor at SCAD, but this show holds a special place with her because she performed in the Broadway touring company of “All Shook Up.”
“I did the Broadway first national tour which happened in 2006, and it was directed by Tony Award-winner Christopher Ashley and Tony Award-winner Sergio Trujillo did the choreography. I had such a pleasant experience with that show and I hadn’t known the material beforehand, I just knew that it was songs of Elvis and I knew that there was a lot of dancing and it was a very upbeat uplifting show,” said Evariste.
All Shook Up, Joe DiPietro’s tale of cross-dressing, mistaken identity, and romance was inspired by Twelfth Night and other Shakespearean comedies.
The musical fantasy features such classics as “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Hound Dog,” “Jailhouse Rock,” and “Don’t Be Cruel” by Elvis Presley.
A small Midwestern town is thrown into a whirl with the arrival of Chad, a good-looking, motorcycle-rider, who rides from town to town with a guitar on his back and a song in his heart. Repressed by their conservative mayor, the town begins to come alive once more under Chad’s influence. One of the main themes of the show is appreciation, understanding, and acceptance of all people.
“What makes the show fun is the story itself is actually really about acceptance. Chad has got this cool factor, this old school James Dean reference, but more so than that is just his confidence and acceptance of himself,” said Evariste.
It is that story of acceptance that drew Evariste and the cast to the story.
Evariste and her husband are both professors at SCAD.
They were in Australia working a production of “Book of Mormon” in 2020 when the world started to shut down.
They returned to their residence in New York ahead of the full lockdown of Broadway, and had already been thinking about transitioning into the production and education side of the business while starting a family.
“I was attracted to SCAD because the program valued learning multiple disciplines and applying real world experience teaching to do so,” said Evariste referring to SCAD’s large number of industry professional professors educating students.
“I’m enjoying myself here and I’m enjoying the community here. The students have been very receptive to what I’ve been wanting to share and hoping to share with them and I’m really excited about continuing this journey here,” said Evariste.
Emily Iocovozzi, a Savannah native and SCAD junior plays the role of Natalie in the play.
Before transferring to SCAD, 2015 Savannah Arts graduate was living in New York City working off-Broadway while working a degree at the Conservatory for Dramatic Arts.
As the pandemic set in, Iocovozzi returned home in 2020 and transferred.
“SCAD is an incredible school. Growing up in Savannah I watched it evolve as well. I would go and see their musicals at the Lucas Theatre, which was always just a mind-blowing experience,” said Iocovozzi.
She says she now feels SCAD is always where she was meant to be.
Now she plays the lead in the largest cast of any show at SCAD to date.
Also in leading roles in the cast of 34 SCAD students is Joe Gauzza as Chad and Terrance Williams as Dennis.
“We are really like everyone’s number one fans. When someone finishes a song everybody backstage is clapping. We are all just so excited to be watching each other perform because it been two years and this process has been a transformative experience,” said Iocovozzi, getting emotional when reflecting on the cast’s return to the stage and performing.
Performing Arts, Production Design, Sound Design, Interior Design, nd Dramatic Writing are the majors represented and the cast and crew has been enjoying the real-world experience that Evariste, Bridges, and the other professors bring to the table.
“I still find myself ecstatic everyday going to class and working with professors like Tiffany, my advance drama teacher Isaiah, and so many more who have been in active in Broadway,” said Iocovozzi.
Evariste and Iocovozzi believes the theme of acceptance, passion for life, and the tunes of Elvis will draw people into this show, which they say has something for all ages.
“For me, specifically this show is about following your passion and following your dream and doing whatever you can to get that done along the way,” said Iocovozzi.
“We need it for the community. It’s such a beneficial thing for all ages for people to be inspired by to help people open their minds to maybe different perspectives,” added Evariste.
The show runs March 10-12 at the Lucas Theatre. For information and tickets, visit the Savannah Box Office at the Trustees Theater (216. E. Broughton St.) or online at lucastheatre.com