Originally Published: August 18, 2016 10:12 p.m.
What: Heartbreak Hotel
Where: Elks Opera House, 117 E. Gurley Street
When: Saturday, Aug. 20, 7 p.m.
Tickets: $22 - $30, available online/call
Do you miss Elvis Presley? Tough to believe, but he’s been gone for nearly 40 years.
The King casts a very long shadow, and, while it is difficult to imagine anyone willing to go see a Justin Bieber tribute show four decades after his passing, an Elvis tribute seems natural.
This show, titled “Heartbreak Hotel,” focuses on the “young Elvis,” the Sun Records and early Army years, during the time before the jumpsuits.
Robert Shaw plays the role of Elvis, and he’s worked up several specialty shows, in what he calls “the Elvis canon,” from a later-years-Elvis-backed-by-horns to Shaw’s favorite, “How Great Thou Art,” a tribute to Elvis’ gospel music.
Shaw is philosophical about Elvis’ continuing popularity.
“You could naturally point to his talent, and his charisma, but, I think, even more than that, Elvis was really kind of a catalyst for a culture shift. What he brought to the table …bringing what was essentially known as ‘black music’ to the wider culture—that was the beginning of a major cultural shift.”
Shaw went on to point out that Elvis transitioned seamlessly between records and radio to movies and television.
The show itself is not strictly a tribute to Elvis, but “a salute to the music and the spirit of what Elvis did,” Shaw said, “so it’s not note-for-note or hip-swivel-for-hip-swivel.”
It includes some storytelling for background and costumes, but Shaw said he’s not doing an impression of The King.
Shaw himself was doing theater in Tucson, acting at the Gaslight, when the theater’s owner suggested he do an Elvis-themed show, since he could sing and resembled Elvis.
He decided to give it a shot, and the concept took off.
Elks hosts Louis Armstrong tribute Aug. 26
“A Tribute to Louis Armstrong, Al Hirt, and the Legacy of New Orleans” comes to the Elks Theatre on Friday, August 26.
Mike Vax and his Great American Jazz Band will be joined by vocalists Dennis Rowland, Ginger Berglund, and Scott Whitfield as they play tunes from the late 1800s to today.
The show will not only feature the music of Louis Armstrong and Al Hirt, but also The Dukes of Dixieland, Louis Prima and many other well-known New Orleans groups and musicians.
See it August 26, 7 p.m., at the
Elks. Tickets available at the box office,
by calling 928-777-1370 or at prescottelkstheater.com.
“We did it, it went well, and now it’s grown into Lonely Street Productions, which is a national touring concept production company,” he said.
“Now we have everything from Rat Pack to an all-girls group called ‘The Do-Wop Divas,’” and they do “all-nostalgia based entertainment.”
Elvis is back in the building, and though Shaw says they “stay away from the impressions,” he said the audience will get the feel of The King.