In just a week, Arizona Broadway Theatre’s stage has been transformed from the gritty buildings of Buffalo, N.Y., for “The Full Monty” to a colorful, eye-popping backdrop of a small Midwest town for the jukebox musical “All Shook Up.”
Paul Bridgeman, ABT technical director, said for at least five weeks they’ve been working on the sets for “All Shook Up,” which opens Friday at the professional dinner theater.
“When one show starts, that’s when the work begins for the next one in the scene shop,” said Bridgeman. “It’s a never-ending cycle for us.”
A team of four people, including two carpenters, a painter and Bridgeman, are transforming the stage and musical into the director’s vision of a pop-out cartoon.
“There is very much a fun feel and atmosphere to this show, once you see the sets,” he said.
“All Shook Up” is based on the Shakespeare classic “Twelfth Night” and includes mistaken identities. The story revolves around a tomboy mechanic who falls in love with a motorcycle-loving rebel, who comes into town and excites all of the local women.
The musical has been set to the catalog of Elvis Presley and includes “Jailhouse Rock,” “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Blue Suede Shoes” and “Fools Fall in Love.”
“All Shook Up” opened briefly on Broadway for six months, but it now plays mostly in regional, high school and local theaters.
Bridgeman said his team is under constant deadlines with each production. Some of the set-building and scenic paint design take anywhere from a day to a week, depending on the piece.
For instance, a multi-colored church with a stained glass featured in “All Shook Up” took three days for the painter to complete.
Many of the sets rolled onto the stage are double-sided and must be painted as well.
“We do as much as possible to utilize our sets and the props,” he said.
Sets include a church, shoe store and a Tunnel-of-Love carnival ride. When building sets, Bridgeman said many pieces are recycled from other shows because of budget restraints.
“The framework for the altar of our church comes from the musical ‘Phantom,’” he said. “So we come up with some creative things to make stuff work sometimes.”
In addition to the large and colorful sets, “All Shook Up” will feature a motorcycle from Arrowhead Harley-Davidson in the show every night.
Skye Fallon, a spokeswoman for ABT, said she thanks Arrowhead Harley-Davidson for providing the motorcycle, which adds even more to the set and production.
“People will enjoy the fun, colorful aspects of the show,” Fallon said, “from the intricate stained glass on the church to the beautiful Harley that Chad, the ‘bad boy’ lead character, rides into town on.”