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Performing Art
Arts and Entertainment Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012 10 years ago

Theater Review: 'Shake, Rattle and Roll'

by: Paula Atwell

“Shake, Rattle and Roll” at Florida Studio Theatre has been extended. After selling-out its 12-week run at the Cabaret, the production will run at the Gompertz through April 7. Lucky you if you haven’t seen it yet because it’s more fun than a junior prom date with the guy voted “Most Popular.”

The show “goes faster than a roller coaster,” loaded with great arrangements and superior performances that celebrate the birth of rock ’n’ roll with fabulous ’50s flash and panache. From its “Rock Around the Clock” opening number to its almost literary “Shake, Rattle & Roll” finale, it’s a lusty, loving, lively paean to the “I’m alive and digging it” driving beat that set music on its ears and made every teenager in the country get up and dance to the music of Buddy Holly, Carl Perkins, Chuck Berry, the Everly Brothers, to name a few. Dick Clark once said, “Elvis was the King of rock ’n’ roll, but Buddy Holly was the undisputed father of rock music.”

“Shake, Rattle & Roll” was developed by Richard Hopkins, Rebecca Hopkins and Jim Prosser, who are also responsible for the entertaining patter. It features an all-male cast of performers who play 10 different instruments including guitar, banjo, mandolin, drums, and piano, including Broadway actor Eric Scott Anthony, New York actor Dominick Cicco, New York actor Casey Gensler, and percussionist Tony Bruno. Jonathan Brown makes his FST debut.

The entire cast is so multi-talented that I don’t have room to gush over them fully. Some highlights of the relentlessly rockin’ evening included “Good Golly, Miss Molly,” complete with some iconic elbow-banging piano play, a raunchy rendition of “My Maybelline,” a “The Day the Music Died” so soulful it’ll bring tears to your eyes and an expressive, funny “Love is Strange,” among much, much more.

It’s Director Dennis Courtney’s 23rd production at FST, and his nuanced discretion shines through every segment. Along with Courtney, the creative team includes Music Director John Francescina, lighting designer Jeffrey Cady and costume and scenic designer Susan Angermann.

Shake, Rattle & Roll will play in the Goldstein Cabaret through March 25, and continue its run in the Gompertz Theatre through April 7.

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