May 25--Filmmaker Alan Parker is no stranger to working with music. His musicals included the original "Fame," "Pink Floyd -- The Wall" and "Evita" -- and in fact he began his motion picture career with a gangster musical called "Bugsy Malone."
The latter featured an all-child cast. One actor was Jodie Foster, who could not have been more than 13 at the time.
Mind you, Parker hedged his bets by using adult voices.
I bring it up now because, for the past three weeks, Lubbock theatergoers have had a blast watching an entertaining production of the jukebox musical "All Shook Up" at the Cactus Theater, a romantic musical comedy framed by at least two dozen songs from the 1950s rock 'n' roll charts, including a lot of Elvis tunes.
Tonight is the final production of the play -- but oh yes, tonight's cast is different.
In fact, the actors on stage today represents the Cactus Kids Theatrical Company.
These actors auditioned months ago. Rehearsals have been ongoing. More than that, these younger thespians were expected to attend all six performances by the adult cast over the past three weekends.
That's because co-directors Ira White Kelly, Jane Prince-Jones and Cami Caldwell never intended on hedging any bets.
The younger cast of tonight's presentation of "All Shook Up" will act, sing and dance their roles throughout the full-length musical.
And believe me, the word Kids is used only for alliteration with the word Cactus.
Prepare to be stunned.
Or as co-director Jane Prince Jones put it, "These are creative, bold children who never were afraid to take a risk. These are kids who will be successful on stage as young adults and no doubt when they grow older.
"Every one of them has a great work ethic, and several are already there. Laurel Guzman, for example, who plays Natalie tonight, is just stunning."
Co-director Cami Caldwell concurs, pointing out the cast is comprised of "incredible vocalists and actors.
"I expect the audience will be blown away."
She also was quick to point out Guzman's acting and vocal credentials, concluding, "She is an excellent singer and a dynamic actress."
Caldwell also raved about Colby Flathers, who is making his stage debut as a sexy motorcyle-riding heartbreaker.
As for Natalie's shy friend, Dennis, Caldwell revealed, "I think little Blake (Wilson) is going to steal the show. He is only 7, and he's absolutely adorable. He has a ton of lines, and had them all memorized before anyone else did.
"They tell me he is living the dream. They can hardly drag him away from the theater."
Two other standouts, noted Caldwell, are Mackenzie Walker and Avery Guyear as Lorraine and Sylvia, respectively.
These young performers may have only one shot at "All Shook Up." But odds favor theater lovers seeing many of them more as they grow older.
"All Shook Up" will be performed at 7:30 p.m. today, May 26, at the Cactus Theater, 1812 Buddy Holly Ave.
Reserved seats are $20. Call 762-3233 for reservations
Chat about movies, theater, music, dance and visual arts at my blog playBill by Kerns at lubbockonline.com -- or check out Twitter at AJ_WilliamKerns.
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