GREENFIELD — “Elvis is hotter than ever. The man’s never cooled down!” said character Mary Smart in KidsPlay’s latest production of “Elvis Ate Here,” and that’s what director Corey Yeaman is banking on.
“Everybody knows Elvis, so everybody will like this show,” Yeaman said.
Since early February, the 37 cast members of KidsPlay have been in rehearsal for “Elvis Ate Here,” a comedy about a roadside diner on its last legs until restaurant owner Ruth Verelli, played by Grace McCartney, and her daughters decide to capitalize on the fact that Elvis once stopped by, used the phone, and ate a burger in their restaurant, The Drop On Inn.
With some interior decorating, new signage and a new marketing campaign, the restaurant becomes “Elvis Ate Here,” and suddenly customers are flocking to stay in the accompanying Heartbreak Hotel and order Love Me Chicken Tenders and an All Shook Up Shake from the menu.
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Things go horribly wrong, however, during the Elvis look-alike contest when Elvis impersonator Seymore Crunch (played by Jacob Wickard) suddenly drops dead on stage from a gunshot wound. The mystery is on. Who killed Elvis?
The whole KidsPlay crew has been working to put together a well-rounded show with good performances, fun music, perfect costuming and a great set.
The set is fairly extravagant, said parent volunteer and construction boss Chris Wickard. Wickard and his crew have worked tirelessly to create a 1950s diner complete with a restaurant booth, a lunch counter and a large picture window.
The group also has gone to great lengths to make sure the actors look good on stage, too, with the Elvis look-alike contest in the show being the biggest challenge.
“There are six Elvises so we wanted six different Elvis looks,” said Rebekah McCartney, assistant costumer for the show.
Some costumes, she said, can be put together with pieces from second-hand stores, but others had to be made from scratch.
“It’s hard work,” McCartney said, noting. “Elvis wore a lot of sequins.”
Choreography and dance coach Amy Studabaker likes the show because of the music. The show opens with “Jailhouse Rock,” performed by the Kids-Play Dance Company, but there are also three separate Elvis numbers lip-synced during the show.
“We tried to pick some Elvis favorites that would have people tapping their toes and dancing in their seat,” Studabaker said.