By Allison Collins
SIDNEY – Bainbridge native Cameron Kinnear, 27, will make his directorial debut with Tri-Town Theatre this weekend following a string of regional directorships.
Together with the nonprofit area theater company formed in 1963, Kinnear will present “All Shook Up,” an all-Elvis musical and TTT’s first following the death of founding director Jack Deuel in December 2017.
Kinnear, who previously sat on TTT’s board, said the Broadway musical was chosen for its feel-good familiarity.
“Today, people want to go to theater to have a good time,” he said. “They want to escape and just relax and be entertained for a couple of hours.”
“And I thought the appeal of Elvis music for the people in this area would be quite enthusiastic,” Kinnear added. “It’s all ‘50s rock ‘n’ roll, so we’re hoping for a mix (of audience members). The music is all Elvis, but it’s definitely more of a comedy that should also appeal to younger folks and it is kid-friendly.”
According to press materials, the musical follows one hip-swiveling, guitar-playing young man’s arrival in a quiet mid-western town where dancing and music are forbidden. While there, he faces off with the mayor and established tradition, shaking the whole place up.
The 15-member cast of local actors and dancers will perform 24 Elvis classics, including “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” “Jailhouse Rock,” “Don’t Be Cruel” and the titular track.
While full of favorites, Kinnear said, the contemporary nature of “All Shook Up” marks a departure for TTT. Auditions were held in March and rehearsals began in September.
“It’s a little different for Tri-Town, because it’s newer,” Kinnear said. “But Tri-Town Theatre, as a production company, has been incredibly supportive and everybody has been a joy to work with.”
The two-act musical debuted on Broadway in March 2005.
Kinnear, whose theater career began with TTT as a youth performer under Deuel’s direction, said returning to the Sidney stage is especially meaningful.
“My very first theatrical experience was in Tri-Town’s production of ‘Oliver,’ so he’s how I got my start,” Kinnear said. “This is my first time back since having directed on a regional circuit, so it’s nice to come home and this production is actually dedicated to Jack.”
TTT will host a separate, tribute event honoring Deuel in mid-November.
Catch “All Shook Up” Friday and Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. at the Sidney High School Auditorium and Sunday at 2. Tickets are available through brownpapertickets.com and may be purchased at the door.
For more information, find “Tri-Town Theatre” on Facebook or visit tritowntheatre.org.