OREM — Jennifer Reed admits she was somewhat concerned when she fully realized what she'd agreed to do in directing the SCERA Shell Outdoor Theatre's "All Shook Up," which opens July 6.
For Reed, the rock 'n' roll comedy show seemed a little lighter in tone and story than what she usually directed.
But she's now fallen in love with the stage musical.
"I wasn't really familiar with the show. It's a jukebox musical. It's very light," Reed said. "I see myself as more ... well, I love character and story. I did 'Funny Girl' and 'Annie' for them. I knew this would be a new experience.
"But," Reed adds, "I always love a challenge and I have to say, I have had a blast with this. It's so much fun."
Reed has found that despite the catchy Elvis tunes for which the show is known and the light approach to some serious issues, there are some "really great themes" that resonate from the story, themes about avoiding quick judgment and extending the benefit of the doubt to others.
She's impressed with how the music defines and touches the characters.
And, she says, the cast is amazing.
"I knew I would need really strong leads, a lot of them. There are 10 leads in this show," she said.
The story takes place in a small Midwestern town in the 1950s. A part-time auto mechanic dreams of riding off on her motorbike to find true love.
When a hip-swiveling, gorgeous hunk of burning love comes to town, he shakes up her life and the lives of just about everybody around him.
The part of the traveler, Chad, is played by Jordan Dickison and his love interest Natalie is played by an actress who has basically grown up at the SCERA, Reed said — T'naiha Lewis.
The two have great chemistry between them and are "awesome" with the singing and dancing, she added.
Elvis classic tunes rock the show throughout.
Reed has made efforts to keep the show especially family friendly and fun.
"I think that may be why they (the SCERA management) asked me to direct this, because of my reputation and my affiliation with BYU. It's really important to know your audience," Reed said.
Music direction for the show is by Connie Jensen with choreography by Sunny Watts.
If you go:
What: "All Shook Up"
Where: SCERA Shell Outdoor Theater, 699 S. State, Orem
When: 8 p.m., Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, July 6-21
Cost: $10 adults, $8 students/seniors/children
Sharon Haddock is a professional writer with 35 years experience, 17 at the Deseret News. Her personal blog is at sharonhaddock.blogspot.com.