Sarah Oates, a Redmond High School (RHS) senior and Running Start student at Bellevue College will perform in the ensemble of “All Shook Up,” July 17-24 at Village Theatre, 303 Front St. N in Issaquah. Tickets are $15 general admission, $13 for youth or seniors; call (425) 392-2202 or visit www.villagetheatre.org.
RHS Drama fans might remember Oates from last year’s production of “Pippin.” She was part of the “Sin Girls,” nominated for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble Group in the 5th Avenue Theatre Awards for high school musicals in 2009-10.
Oates was also assistant choreographer for “Pippin” and has appeared in previous shows at Village Theatre and Redmond’s SecondStory Repertory.
The musical comedy “All Shook Up” is based on William Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” and features the music of Elvis Presley.
The show’s main character, a swaggering, guitar-slinging roustabout named Chad has been compared to the flamboyant pop star Conrad Birdie from “Bye Bye Birdie.”
Oates explained, “Chad turns a boring, nowhere town into one full of life, color and music.”
Describing “All Shook Up,” Oates added, “It’s definitely all songs from Elvis. It’s full of top music — even if you don’t like ‘musicals’ so much, you’ll recognize a lot of the hits and enjoy the great dancing. It’s a fun, funny show.”
Commenting on the “state of the arts” here in Redmond, Oates said, “The Redmond (High) drama program is really well known. The nomination from 5th Avenue was a big honor.”
The Redmond community, too, “has a lot of options” for those who want to perform, lend a hand backstage or just watch live entertainment, said Oates.
“There’s Redmond Arts in the Parks and SecondStory Repertory. But some arts programs are struggling financially. They need help and support more than ever, so community members need to do that if they want to sustain them,” she said.
Oates also used to play flute with the RHS band but this fall, her schedule will be packed with classes such as business, economics and American Government at Bellevue College. She is on-track to earn her Associate’s degree at the same time she receives her RHS diploma.
She then wants to attend Foster School of Business at University of Washington and likes the idea of specializing in environmental business.
“But I always want to be a teacher and supporter of the arts if not a cast member,” stated Oates, who also has training from Gotta Dance in Redmond and from Westlake Center Dance.
Her drama, dance and music activities have convinced her, “up onstage, everyone supports you. People in the theatre community want to help you, they don’t want you to fail.”
That’s especially true for kids who are shy and unsure of themselves, said Oates.
Performing arts participation is “great experience, learning presentation skills for school and work. Onstage, you learn team work, you learn that everybody matters,” she said.