"Elvis Presley is the greatest cultural force in the 20th century."

(Leonard Bernstein)


"If you're an Elvis fan, no explanation is necessary; If you're not an Elvis fan, no explanation is possible."

(George Klein)


"For a dead man, Elvis Presley is awfully noisy."

(Professor Gilbert B. Rodman)


"History has him as this good old country boy, Elvis is about as country as Bono!"

(Jerry Schilling)


"Absolute id crashed into absolute superego...as the uptightset man in America shook hands with just about the loosest."

(Mark Feeney on the 'Elvis meets Nixon' meeting)


"Elvis is everywhere"

(Mojo Nixon & Skid Roper)


"...especially in the South, they talk about Elvis and Jesus in the same breath"

(Michael Ventura, LA Weekly)








ALL SHOOK UP - the Broadway albumm


Sony BMG 82876 69124: All Shook Up, the musical at the Palace, left me distinctly unstirred.  The CD, from the new Sony BMG combine, is somewhat more interesting. It still is, for better or worse, what it intends to be: a new musical comedy in which "the story is all new, the hits are all Elvis."

That tag line contains two landmines, at least for theatregoers who shuddered through Footloose, Saturday Night Fever and Good Vibrations.

A young ne'er-do-well rides into a middle-of-nowhere small-town on his motorcycle, stirring up the local youth and leading everyone to learn the power of true love and rock 'n' roll music. This story is, excuse me, "all new"? As for the songs, what you have is all Elvis, all the time. The late Mr. Presley has gazillions of fans out there, sure, and many of the songs he sang remain familiar, fifty years after he smashed through to fame.

But an evening of Elvis on Broadway can backfire, and quickly too.  Elvis was a singer, not a writer; thus, performances of his songs are immediately open to comparison. Are the All Shook Up performances of "Heartbreak Hotel," "Blue Suede Shoes" and "Jailhouse Rock" as distinctive as Elvis's recordings of same? Of course not. A modern-day Elvis wouldn't be biding his time in a drafty third-floor dressing room at the Palace; he'd be presiding over his own media empire.

I can't speak for the Elvis fans, as I'm not of their number, but the prevailing sentiment seems to be that the songs as sung in the musical pale in comparison to the originals. Combine a checkered reaction from the Elvis fans with the expected cold shoulder from the non-Elvis fans, many of whom comprise the core of Broadway theatregoers, and you've got a couple of strikes against you.

The folks at All Shook Up clearly went out of their way to devise a generally cheery, friendly and colorful entertainment. But when you choose to live by Elvis, and label yourself "all Elvis," you have to accept the adverse consequences.

The CD reflects favorably on the cast, many of who are somewhat obscured in the theatre by the goings-on onstage. Jenn Gambatese, Cheyenne Jackson, Jonathan Hadary, Leah Hocking and Mark Price all come across very nicely.  Ms. Gambatese, especially, seems to be a smart-and-attractive actor; all points indicate that she is a musical comedy find.

The CD also showcases the work of Stephen Oremus, who is credited on the title page for "music supervision and arrangements," as well as being the co-orchestrator.  (Elsewhere, the liner notes tell us that he is also the musical director, conductor and keyboard player.) While one can question the effectiveness of this scoreful of Elvis songs, the arrangements — that is, the way the songs are routined for the show and performed — work very nicely, with good vocals and good humor abundant.

Verdict: All told, the CD of All Shook Up is more listenable than some disgruntled theatregoers might expect, and it features a handful of bright performers.

(Review, Source: Steven Suskind, Playbill News)



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"Elvis Presley is the supreme socio-cultural icon in the history of pop culture"

(Dr. Garry Enders)


" Elvis is the 'glue' which holds our society together....which subconciously gives our world meaning"



"Eventually everybody has to die, except Elvis"

(humorist Dave Barry)


"He is the "Big Bang", and the universe he detonated is still expanding, the pieces are still flying"

(Greil Marcus, "Dead Elvis")


"I think Elvis Presley will never be solved"

(Nick Tosches)