Just what do the music of Elvis, Shakespeare's Twelfth Night and Canberra's Hawker College have in common? The short answer is All Shook Up, a contemporary musical in the same vein as West Side Story that debuts at the school theatre on Wednesday night at 7.30.
College drama and dance co-ordinator, Hannah McFadden, is at pains to stress this is a musical inspired by the music of Elvis, not by Elvis himself, and confesses to being a huge fan.
This is despite the fact that as a child of the '80s she came in late on the whole Blue Suede Shoes thing and was exposed to a much more cynical and self-serving style of music as an adolescent.
''I'm an Elvis and a 1950s fan,'' she told Gang Gang. ''It was a time of the discovery of youth, of enjoying life and of having a good time. I have a real soft spot [for the decade].''
Musically, songs were more honest, celebratory and life affirming - all characteristics that have gone down well with the students who are bringing the libretto penned by Joe DiPetro in 2004 to life.
''When Elvis first came onto the scene, sex, love and teenage lust were relatively new subjects that hadn't featured in popular music before. It was very liberating and set the scene for a lot of what followed.''
Billed as a jukebox musical, All Shook Up uses some of the greatest Presley classics to punctuate an American Graffiti-esque storyline with emotional depth.
The plot draws heavily on the gender-bending, mistaken-identity driven narrative created by Shakespeare for Twelfth Night in much the same way Romeo and Juliet provided the structural framework for West Side Story almost 50 years ago.
Act one begins with Chad, a handsome young roustabout with a guitar in his hands and a song on his lips, being released from the county jail (cue Jailhouse Rock).
Chad rides to a nearby town where he has bike trouble and encounters a young motor mechanic named Natalie. (Cue Heartbreak Hotel, Roustabout and One Night with You in rapid succession). After arranging to have his ride repaired, Chad is appalled to discover the town is a fun-free zone. Under the Mamie Eisenhower Decency Act ''loud music, public necking and tight pants'' are verboten. He tries to overturn the rules (cue C'mon Everybody) and to persuade Natalie to hit the open road (cue Follow That Dream).
Natalie has fallen hard for Chad who doesn't even notice her in a romantic sense and is soon smitten by the gorgeous and classy Sandra. Natalie, by the way, is already the object of her best friend, Dennis' unrequited love.
Sandra does not take kindly to Chad's attempts at romance and in a plot twist of truly Shakespearean proportions (it is a direct steal after all) Natalie, masquerading as a young biker called Ed to get closer to Chad, ends up delivering a sonnet to Sandra on his behalf.
Sandra, again predictably, falls for this truly remarkable ''young man'' and tries to give Natalie/Ed the boon that Chad so desperately craves …
And we're still not anywhere near the end of the first act.
Needless to say, All's Well That End's Well with a group wedding set against Burning Love as the finale.