He knew what he wanted.
Last September, when classes at Port Moody's Heritage Woods secondary started, Spencer Perry was front and centre when the call for auditions went out for the new musical production All Shook Up.
After all, it was the Grade 12 student's last year at Heritage and he yearned to graduate with a substantial part in his pocket. "I wanted the lead," he said, with a simple nod of his head.
Still, it wasn't just the spotlight he craved or taking on the juicy role of Chad, an Elvis-type bad boy who turns an uptight 1950s American midwestern town upside down. Perry also loved the play's music.
And who doesn't? All Shook Up has more than 20 of the King's songs; in the first act alone, there's Jailhouse Rock, Heartbreak Hotel, Love Me Tender and Don't Be Cruel, to name a few.
Perry's match on stage is Lidia Lee, who portrays a mechanic named Natalie with a crush on Chad.
Director Shanda Walters said the play is a lot of fun but it also has many serious sub-plots like relationships, loneliness and oppression.
"It's a bit like Footloose," she said during a rehearsal on Pro-D last month. "There's a stranger that comes in and tries to break down the barriers. He encourages them to open up and express their love."
Walters compared the play with Twelfth Night, a Shakespearean comedy penned in the 17th century that's based on mistaken identity.
For example, in All Shook Up, Natalie cross-dresses to become Chad's best friend, Ed, but, as the pair gets friendlier, Chad confides his love for a librarian but soon realizes he's smitten with Ed/Natalie.
As a bonus, Heritage Woods has a live band for its production. "The music is just so great," she said, adding, "It's the most interesting show we've done."
All Shook Up runsMarch 4, 5, 10 and 12 at 7:30 p.m. at Heritage Woods secondary school (1300 David Ave., Port Moody).
Tickets at $12/$10 are available at the door or by calling 604-461-8679.