RIVERSIDE, CA. Elvis Presley evolved from a rebellious rocker to an iconic sex symbol to a legendary entertainer and the evolution is captured in the touring, musical production Elvis Lives. The show stars the best of the best in the Elvis Tribute Artist (ETA) industry. Each artist representing the King of Rock & Roll is an Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest winner crowned by Elvis Presley Enterprises. It is a testament to their superb, individual talent. When brought together in a single show Dean Zeligman, Jay Dupuis, and Bill Cherry give audiences a spectacular, entertaining show that leaves you wanting more. Joining Elvis on stage is the only woman who could match his charisma, Ann Margaret, portrayed by Carol Marrci. Elvis Lives is more than a musical. It is a journey through the eras when Elvis was at his phenomenal best and his evolution into a legend.
Elvis began his adult life after graduating Humes High School as a truck driver studying to become an electrician. He was just a nobody among nobodies until he stepped inside Sun Studios to record a song to give to his mom for her birthday. Elvis took his first step in his evolution. Dean Z captures the rebellious rocker of the early years when Elvis rocketed to super stardom with a new style of music injected into the American music scene post World War II America. America was not prepared for it. It was a sound blending rhythm & blues, country, and gospel together, which became the soul of the Memphis music scene, and developed into a brand new genre called rock & roll. Elvis in the 50s thrilled screaming teenage girls who loved him, admired by young men who wanted to be him, and shocked their parents into believing he was the devil. The young, raw Elvis is brought to life in an energetic performance by Dean Z who captures that threatening, boyish charm that drove the youth wild and threatened their innocence.
The rebellious rocker skyrocketed to fame and became a supposed threat to the morals of a naïve youth during the era. The U.S. Government allegedly wanted to kill the thrill and drafted Elvis into the Army for a two year stint hoping he would be forgotten. It did seem the music phenom lost his way after the Army in a series of formulaic, blockbuster movie musicals which gave us a few great songs like Viva Las Vegas, Can’t Help Falling in Love, and Bossa Nova. Viva Las Vegas (movie) introduced us to Ann Margaret and forever linked her to Elvis. The chemistry between Elvis and Ann Margaret is made real with Jay Dupuis and Carol Maricci burning up the stage. Together, on the Elvis Lives stage, they set it ablaze in a series of duets singing movie tunes; making them the ultimate power couple who sing, dance, and mesmerize.
The eight year Hollywood hiatus from the stage did nothing to extinguish Elvis’ impact on people and music. Millions would see him evolve from rebellious rocker and musical actor into an international sex symbol. The pause was like a dormant volcano in Elvis’ career which erupted into the biggest comeback special by a single entertainer dressed in black leather. He was lean, fit, energetic, and happy. He never looked better…sexier…and Elvis was ready to get back on stage in front of thousands. Dean Z comes back to the stage and inhabits this next evolution of Elvis in the ’68 Comeback Special wearing the iconic two-piece leather outfit which has been personified as The Leathers by Elvis fans. But Elvis evolved into more than just a sex symbol in 1968. He evolved into a passionate singer who sang with meaning, inspiration, and emotion.
The year was a controversial, tragic year with the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (April) and Robert F. Kennedy (June). The impact on Elvis was evident during the TV special and expressed in one of the most beautiful, meaningful songs inspired by those tragic events. If I Can Dream would never be sung again by Elvis after the ’68 Comeback Special, but fortunately troves of ETAs sing it today. Jay Dupuis is among the best who can sing it with passion, like Elvis did, with a vocal power enchanting old and new fans alike. It is one of the most poignant moments in Elvis Lives when you understand the passion behind the song.
Elvis’ music style, vocal power, and image evolved so quickly he didn’t seem to be the same person. The 50s were a lot of nasally, high-pitch songs common to the era and an experiment in the new music genre of rock-n-roll. He was boyish with a charming appeal. In the ’68 Comeback Special his voice was raw and guttural and the boyish charm of the 50s transformed into a gorgeous, confident mature man. The 1970s, or concert years, Elvis sang beautiful ballads with operatic power and evolved into an unrivaled legend.
Bill Cherry brings the legend to life in the final evolution of Elvis. The introduction, Also sprach Zarathustra, echoes first in the auditorium followed by the pounding of the heavy drum beat, BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! The spotlights search the audience and the stage in anticipation for the familiar, bigger-than-life entertainer wearing the most unique stage costumes of rhinestone gems and glittering gold. Then it happens. He shows up, grabs the guitar, grabs the mic and the grand finale of Elvis Lives begins. See, see rider…
The musical journey from rebellious rocker to legendary entertainer is embodied by Elvis in the concert years. Shadows of the youthful Elvis are seen in the leg shakes and energetic movements. The magnetic, sexy charisma lights up the stage with every mischievous smile and sparkle from his blue eyes. An ordinary man with an extraordinary talent who takes a knee on the stage, then spreads his cape like a comic book superhero and looks upwards to heaven firmly establishing his legend in American music and culture.
Cherry takes on the persona in tribute to the King of Rock & Roll and draws us in to what it was like to see Elvis in concert. He is superbly talented to take on the persona and give the audience the ultimate Elvis illusion. In Bill Cherry you will believe Elvis lives. In fact, in all of the performers you will believe Elvis lives.
Elvis Lives brings every major milestone and evolution of Elvis Presley’s career to the stage in a professional, entertaining musical production. The show is truly a journey which takes the audience from an unknown singer who becomes the greatest entertainer in the world. Check out their website for tour dates and mark your calendars. It is a show you do not want to miss. We have already seen it twice and are looking forward to it again when it rolls into a California city near us during it’s nationwide tour.