HAVERHILL — Students on Whittier Regional High’s stage will be smiling and gyrating as they bop to 1950s rock and roll with their loose hip, finger-snapping dance moves.
A cast of 36 students will perform the foot-stomping musical comedy “All Shook Up,” which opens Friday.
Advance tickets for the three shows are on sale at the school store for $6 and will be sold for $8 at the door, Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m.
“It’s going to be a blast,” said senior Nick Bias of Methuen, who plays Dennis, one of the leads. “The play is hilarious. When we first read the script, we were hooting and hollering all over the place.”
The show is built around songs made famous by Elvis Presley with a 1955 setting in a small town in middle America. It’s where one girl’s dream and a surprise visit from a mysterious leather-jacketed, guitar-playing stranger helps a small town discover the magic of romance and the power of rock and roll. Among the 24 songs featured in the score are classics like “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Love Me Tender,” “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” and the title tune, “All Shook Up.”
Senior Adelia Purdy, 17, of Amesbury is playing the town’s mayor, Matilda Hyde. It’s Purdy’s first lead role in her four-year stage career at Whittier and she is feeling “excited and a lot of pressure,’’ she said.
“In the past, I’ve been in the ensemble where you can blend in,” Purdy said. “Now, everyone is watching me. I’m the bad guy. I passed a law in my town to abolish singing and dancing, and necking and tight pants.”
She has a sheriff to help her enforce the rules, but her biggest challenge is to avoid giggling when she has to chastise the young upstarts, who are her high school friends in real life, for stirring things up with their rock and roll.