By Len Clark
For the Salisbury Post
Are You Lonesome Tonight? Well put on your Blue Suede Shoes and Surrender yourself to an evening chronicling the era and honoring the influence of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. If you don’t laugh you have a Wooden Heart.
“All The King’s Women” written by multiple award winning playwright Luigi Jannuzzi and directed by Missy Barnes, associate professor of Theatre Arts at Catawba College, comprises eight vig-nettes tracking changing times during the life of Elvis Presley, and how those times were shaped by the man himself. For those of you with Suspicious Minds: it is Fever pitch, family friendly, fast and funny.
One Tupelo Saleswoman – Bethany Sinnott — (yes, the Shakespearean authority Dr. Sinnott — who knew?) plays a 1940s Mississippi sales lady who sells Elvis his first guitar when the future gyrator and his Mother pop in to her store to choose Elvis’ 11th birthday gift. Bethany commands a bare stage, but you’d swear there’s a store full of people interrupting her monologue: “.…Asbestos Insulation Sir? Aisle 4.” With apologies to you know who: Bethany is the soul of wit.
The Censor And The King — Tammie Casper and Claudia Galup epitomize a new world of 1950s women in the workplace as their characters discuss how the censors will scrutinize pelvic movement, before Elvis’ first appearance on the Steve Allen Show. Gina Christoffersen plays The Colonel’s secretary. The questions and precautions of the day, as well as hilariously portrayed, seem incredible now.
3 A.M. In The Garden With A God — Kat Campagna plays a ’60s housewife whose few minutes of daily independence generally fall in the middle of the night when she takes a trip to the local supermarket to buy peanut butter and bananas. Kat’s “highlight of my life” recital of her collision with Elvis in the produce section is a show stopper. Your sides will be All Shook Up.
When Nixon Met Elvis — Mary Ann McCubbin, Celsa de Jesus, and Lori Van Wallendael are three 1970 White House secretaries fawning over a visitor at the White House gate. The three do a good job bouncing off one another: transitioning through denial, shock and eventual weak kneed contact with the aspiring federal agent.
A 15-minute intermission is followed by Warhol Explains Art To Elvis — Claudia Galup and Robin Hendrick, embracing their full flower power regalia, make plans to entice Elvis to endorse Warhol’s Elvis Pop Art Exhibition. Jeannie Lefler questions their approach.
Pink Cadillacs and God – Showroom manager Bob Paolino struggles to determine which of his super saleswomen: Sharon Doherty or Lori Van Wallendael, will sell Elvis the king’s next and 100th Cadillac. The three actors do an excellent job of hitting the funny lines and the scene also does more than any other in the show to depict the dichotomy of Elvis’ public persona and his struggle to earn respect from the establishment.
One Private Guard — Rodney Lippard is a security guard inside Graceland, who knew and worked for Presley before the king’s death. Reflections on the compassion and generosity of Elvis Presley are poignantly portrayed by Lippard.
Leaving Graceland – It is 2012 and a young woman: Willow Catherine, is quitting the souvenir shop at Graceland. Her obsessed Elvis Impersonator boyfriend Chris Speer cannot believe she’s leaving and inept sales clerk Pat Proctor just never thinks it will happen. The three play off each other well. Graceland is full of tourist trinkets and the world is moving on.
During scene changes, Bob Paolino has a recurring role as the radio announcer, relating sound-bites of American society throughout the decades, recalling the cause and effect of many aspects of the mid-20th century.
So it’s not just an Elvis Fan Club night. But you should spend One Night watching All The King’s Women before we go our Separate Ways. Don’t delay, It’s Now or Never, the show runs only through Saturday, avoid Crying In The Chapel on Sunday. Shake Rattle and Roll Until It’s Time For You To Go… Too Much?
Tonight-Saturday; 7:30 p.m. at the Looking Glass Artist Collective, 405 N. Lee Street, Salisbury. Admission $10 at the door, reservations not available. Doors open at 7. Email leestreettheatre@ gmail.com for more information.
By Len Clark