Cruiser Theatre Company to present the musical, “All Shook Up”

By Rick Palsgrove
Southeast Editor

Messenger photo by Rick Palsgrove
Fiona Finneran (left) and Jermane Jackson have the lead roles in the Cruiser Theatre Company’s upcoming performance of the musical, “All Shook Up.”

Groveport Madison High School’s Cruiser Theatre Company’s spring musical combines love, comedy, and introspection with music made popular by Elvis Presley.

Cruiser Theatre Company teacher/director Corey Ragan said the show, which is loosely based on William Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night,” plays on mixed identities for its comedy, but offers even more.

“It’s a show about love, as well as the role music plays in society and how it changes people,” said Ragan.

In the play, an Elvis style character named “Chad” rides into a small town on his motorcycle. A female mechanic in town named “Natalie” falls for him and makes efforts to gain his attention, but Chad has eyes for others. Natalie decides to dress as a guy in an attempt to become Chad’s friend to get closer to him.

Ragan first saw the musical when he was in seventh grade.

“It really stuck with me for what it says about love,” said Ragan. “It has a nice message at its core. It shows what happens when a person pushes oneself to reach their potential.”

Ragan said the show challenges the student actors.

“There’s so much music. They have 25 songs to learn,” said Ragan. “They also have to learn a specific style of comedy that combines physicality and timing. They have to work to keep the comedic characters grounded in reality.”

The show features such familiar Elvis Presley songs as: “Hound Dog,” “Jailhouse Rock,” “All Shook Up,” “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You,” and more.

“This is the biggest show we’ve put on in a few years,” said Ragan. “We’ll have 34 student actors taking the stage. We’ll also be using a live orchestra for the first time in several years.”

Sophomore actor Fiona Finneran, who plays “Natalie,” one of the lead roles, said she likes “All Shook Up” because, “It’s fun and alive.”

Finneran said she comes from a theatrical family and she started acting as a freshman.

“My first dress rehearsal was an adrenaline rush and I thought, ‘This is so fun!’” she said. “I like absorbing the energy and feelings on stage. Acting makes me feel confident and comfortable. I like learning things from the characters. There’s always something new. I want to absorb it all. The theatre is big, wonderful, and diverse.”

Jermane Jackson, a senior who plays the other lead role, “Chad,” said when he was younger he did not like live theatre, but got into acting at the encouragement of his mother.

“I auditioned and at the first reading I fell in love with acting,” said Jackson. “It felt real. It’s about owning the moment.”

Jackson enjoys this musical because, “There’s an element of togetherness and it takes a lot of people to stage it. It also lets us experience different types of musical genres.”

Finneran said her favorite solo song in the show is, “Fools Fall in Love.”

“Everyone is a fool now and then and it’s OK because that’s how you learn and grow,” she said.

“I Don’t Want To,” is Jackson’s favorite song to solo on.

“It’s a song that shows that everybody goes through the same things. But it’s OK to like different things and be different,” said Jackson.

Finneran said the show challenges her because she normally is a character actor.

“I’m usually there for comic relief,” she said. “The character of ‘Natalie’ has more depth. It’s a chance to be artistic and see what I can do with a character to put my own twist on the role.”

Jackson said he mostly has played villains on stage, so being the lead is a different challenge for him.

“It’s a chance to do something new and innovative for me,” said Jackson.

Finneran and Jackson said the audience will take a lot away with them from “All Shook Up.”

“There are many underlying themes and there’s a lot there under the surface. It’s literary,” said Jackson. “

Added Finneran, “It deals with class conflict as well as how to accept people for who they are and that you’re not alone no matter what situation you’re in. It’s OK to mess up. It’s OK to try to be everything you want to be.”

Finneran probably best summed up the theme of the show this way:

“Love is love,” she said with a smile.

The Cruiser Theatre Company will perform, “All Shook Up”  on April 6, 7, 8 at 7:30 p.m. and April 9 at 2 p.m. in the Groveport Madison High School auditorium, 4475 S. Hamilton Road. Tickets are $7 for students and senior citizens and $10 for adults.

Visit or call (614) 836-4964 for information.

Here are the Groveport Madison High School Cruiser Theatre Company’s upcoming performances:
•Spring Musical – “All Shook Up” – April 6-8 at 7:30 p.m. and April 9 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $7 for students and seniors and $10 for adults.
•Theatre 3 Show – “The Whole Shebang,” May 5 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $3.
•Children’s Show – “The Cat in the Hat” – May 19 at 7:30 p.m. and May 20 at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Tickets are $3.
Visit or call (614) 836-4964 for information.

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