Art, music, poetry… All Shook Up

Ashley Babbitt

This is going to be short and sweet because it’s a busy weekend. I just had a couple quick things I wanted to remind the area about.

It’s Colorscape weekend. This arts festival draws approximately 12,000 people to downtown Norwich. I’ve got to be honest, I’m not too “big” on art, but I do enjoy it – I just don’t know much about it. I just like what I like and don’t what I don’t and couldn’t really give a reason why.

Regardless, Colorscape is great. I know I’ll leave with some handmade jewelry, and maybe something for my mom’s birthday (which is still almost two months away, but I’m sure I’ll see something she’ll like).

The poetry slam starts at 2 pm down at the Blarney Stone Pub. Local, regional and nationally recognized slam poets will be there, and it is honestly my second favorite thing about living in Norwich. I remember when Buddy Wakefield came to perform. I’ve seen him perform eight times since. It’s no joke when I say the young folks around here have talent. When a 15-year-old can write and perform a piece that gives me goosebumps… that’s awesome. Lots of great folks come out to showcase their skills, and it makes my heart happy. Plus, I couldn’t think of a better atmosphere than the Blarney Stone. There will be mature language, I’d imagine, so if you’re a minor you’ll need a parent with you. Naturally, you’ll need to present your ID if you’re over 21 and looking to purchase alcohol. Really though, you won’t want to miss it. [I will be MIA from the Evening Sun's booth during this time].

All that being said about Colorscape, there is something else going on you really should check out: Norwich Theater Company’s production of All Shook Up.

I had the pleasure of attending the final dress rehearsal Thursday night and can say with confidence this is a show you do not want to miss. Am I a huge Elvis fan? No. I think I could only name three songs off the top of my head, but when I met with the director a couple weeks go she had said, “This is a show people are going to want to see twice,” and that wasn’t just lip service… I would absolutely go see it again this weekend.

I’m not going to give anything away about the plot, but the cast is fantastic and it’s clear they put a lot of time and effort into their work and the crew worked . That sounds cliché, but really – you will want to catch this show. It isn’t only about Elvis tunes, the plot addresses social issues in an impressive manner, and pulls it off in such a way that messages are conveyed with humor woven in.

The audience during the rehearsal I attended consisted of me, a couple other folks, and a group of young adults from the Oneonta Job Corps. During the intermission I talked to a couple of the guys who were in town from Oneonta and they had nothing but good things to say about the show.

“Was that the end? I really hope not. I want to see what happens. Man, this is good. I didn’t know what to expect,” said one young man.

Their reaction and participation as an audience was terrific. I loved that they loved it as much as I did.

The entire cast is fantastic and talented, and I don’t want to leave anyone out, because I was genuinely impressed by everyone. Jes Sheldon and Jon Stockton are wonderful as leads, and it’s hard to believe with their performance resumes they’ve never shared the stage with one another. Meredith Cathcart has a great voice and stage presence as does Ericka Tyler. Steve Emmons is super entertaining as Dennis. Nick Tyler, Marty Kuhn, Jessica Richardson, Ryan DeTomi and Craig LaForte are all great. The entire cast and crew deserve two big thumbs up.

The pit orchestra does a really awesome job. I don’t have a list of who is in it, but I recognized Mark Sands and Nick Natoli, and they’re great musicians. Music Director Dave Burch obviously worked hard putting together and directing the talented group of folks.

Basically, I have nothing bad at all I could say about the show. I was super impressed and it was a lot of fun. If I can’t make it to the show tonight, I’ll probably check it out tomorrow; if there are seats left, that is.

Jes Sheldon said that even she got goosebumps during the last scene of the first act. When I had the opportunity to see it for myself, I understood why. If you have $14, go to the Martin W. Kappel Theater at the Chenango Arts Council, 27 West Main Street, either at 7 pm tonight or 2 pm tomorrow … you’ll be glad you did.