Originally Published: December 6, 2011 9:50 p.m.
Robert Shaw, a natural in the role of Elvis, comes to town Sunday, Dec. 11, to present his traditional "Blue Christmas - A Holiday Salute to the King" at the Elks Opera House.
Shaw is an old hand at impersonating the rock star. He said it once was in the theater world that "Elvisy type roles" went to him because of his dark hair, full-range voice and "Elvis eyes." In 1998, he accepted an offer from the producer and director at the Starlight Theater in Tucson to put an Elvis show together.
"It was tremendously successful," he said. "The shows got bigger and bigger" on stages across the country and led to eight shows he now rotates, from Young Elvis to Elvis Gospel to performances reminiscent of Presley's Las Vegas gigs.
"Blue Christmas - A Tribute to Elvis the King" promises "to be a high-energy, theatrical-style yuletide salute to the music of Elvis Presley," Shaw said. The audience can expect favorites, such as "Santa Claus Is Back in Town," "Silver Bells," and "Blue Christmas," along with other Elvis hits, including "Hound Dog," All Shook Up" and "Don't Be Cruel." Special guests, perhaps an appearance by St. Nick and other surprises are lined up for the Sunday show, Shaw said.
The curtain goes up on Shaw and his Lonely Street Band's rendition of Elvis and his Christmas melodies at 2 p.m. at the opera house, 117 E. Gurley St., Prescott. Tickets, which cost $22, $25 and $30, are available online at www.elksoperahouse.com or by calling the Elks box office at 777-1370 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.
Shaw's roots are in southeast Indiana, where he grew up in a musical family. When he was 10 years old, he discovered the trumpet, he said, and began performing. By the time he was a freshman in high school, he realized that musical theater was his "passion," and he began studying voice, acting and dancing. He attended the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and launched his career by performing in theme parks, performing arts centers and other venues across the country.
In 2005, Shaw formed Lonely Street Productions to oversee the business and productions of his concerts. Besides his Elvis show, Shaw's company puts on 15 different entertainment concepts for tours throughout the United States.
"We have a great season planned" for coming performances at the Elks Opera House, Shaw said. In January, Lonely Street Productions will feature Arizona Blue Hall of Fame members in "The Blues from A-Z."
This show will present "a nice variety within the confines of the blues world - a chronology of the various genres that have evolved over the years," he said.
February will see the Manhattan Dolls from New York on the Elks Opera House stage. The Dolls "are a ladies' swing trio style of the Andrew Sisters," Shaw said. A gospel show, "How Great Thou Art," will be Lonely Street Production's show in March, and "A Salute to the Rat Pack" takes place in April, Shaw said.
Sunday's "Blue Christmas - A Holiday Salute to the King" - will brim with "favorite Christmas hits," Shaw said, and is bound to "bring back some good memories."