UW-L summer stage musical

UW-L musical

Mary Leonard doesn’t look shook up at all.

That’s because she loves summer — the days last longer and there’s a different kind of energy in the air, which she has more of this time of year.

She needs it at the moment. Leonard, along with 21 cast members, an orchestra pit of 11, and a large team of designers are the driving force behind the somewhat Elvis-inspired rock ‘n’ roll musical “All Shook Up,” which has opened at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse as part of the SummerStage series.

“It’s light and fun, and on a hot summer night you want to come into the air conditioning and get entertained,” said Leonard, the show’s director. “You don’t want to see something dark and moody in the summer. We do save that for the school year.”

The musical spelunkers through Elvis Presley’s canon of hits, from “Jailhouse Rock” to “Blue Suede Shoes,” with a generous shot of “Burning Love” thrown into the mix.

She likened the intense pace, not to mention the complexity of the arrangements, to musical boot camp.

“When it’s a musical like this, what’s on the page is intended,” she said. “We have this idea of these tunes in our ear already, and it’s tricky to get those out of our ear and sing what’s on the page, to get everybody singing harmoniously together.”

But, that’s exactly what audiences can expect. And, when being Eisenhower-era bad feels so good, sometimes you just have to shout it from the rooftops.

“These students are training to do this as a profession,” Moran said, “so they’re really excited about it, and excited to share that passion.”

Full story at La Crosse Tribune