Ladies and Gentlemen, Elvis is back in the building.
Well, not exactly. But nearly 40 years after his death, a close approximation of The King will be hitting the stage at Salt Lake’s Eccles theater on Saturday night in Elvis Lives.
The show, which bills itself as a “Tribute”—I guess we don’t say impersonator anymore—is officially sanctioned by Elvis Presley Enterprises, and finds its performers through a Graceland-sanctioned star search that takes place in Memphis each year during Elvis Week. The result, according to producer Mark Kogen, is “the three tribute artists who are considered by Elvis Presley enterprises to be the best of the best.”
Each singer will represent one of what the organizers feel is an important era of Elvis—“young,” “comeback” and “concert”—guided through Elvis’ career with video of and narration from The King himself. “Graceland was able to give to the show recordings that Elvis had made, talking about his life. Those are incorporated into the show, so you get an energy from the real Elvis,” says Kogen. “Elvis played Salt Lake city in 1974, but the audience there will hear Elvis again and then when they open their eyes it will be like they’re seeing Elvis again.”
And sure a “Tribute” act can be cheesy, but Kogen says, “Elvis really moved effortlessly and easily and when people embody the energy of Elvis, like these three, they strangely channel the energy and spirit of Elvis.” And he ups the ante by saying “If he were alive today and saw Elvis Lives, he would be very proud to see that his legacy carried out through these performers.”
That’s a bold statement, but Kogen is one of the few people in the world who worked with Elvis, on his tours in the ’70s. In fact, he says one of the highlights of his career was making the “Ladies and Gentlemen, Elvis has left the building” announcement when the usual announcer was ill.
“This show will not disappoint and it will absolutely bring back memories to people’s hearts,” he promises.
Elvis Lives, Saturday February 18 at 8:00. Tickets available here.