Cirque du Soleil's "Viva Elvis," has a VIP opening performance tonight!
Gilles Ste-Croix and Stéphane Mongeau, the show's executive producer, describe the new production as a "retro-contemporized" tribute that unfolds like a live concert.
"It's a show about a man, his emotion, what he brought," Mongeau continued. "And it's not a show about Elvis, it's a show with Elvis."
In keeping with that concept, none of the show's 75 artists -- including 26 dancers, 26 acrobats, four featured female singers and a live band -- actually will portray or otherwise represent Presley on stage. The king will be glimpsed in vintage film clips, graphic imagery and scenic and abstract props, such as a gigantic pompadour. But as far as impersonations, the Cirque creative team is leaving those to the legions of side-burned, rhinestone-studded guys who pop up in beery nightclub acts around town."It would not be fair for Elvis" to portray him, Mongeau said, "because Elvis is greater than what we could imagine."
In exploring Presley's musical legacy, "Viva Elvis" will highlight the singer's recorded voice on many of his signature tunes.
The venue, a custom-built 2,000-seat theater with every imaginable backstage technology and enough fly space to land a UFO, is among the prime attractions of the new ultra-upscale Aria Resort & Casino, the centerpiece of the massive new CityCenter urban complex on the Las Vegas Strip. "Viva Elvis" will christen the space with tonight's VIP opening performance; to be attended by Priscilla Presley, the first public previews will begin on Friday and the official premiere will be Feb. 19.Priscilla Presley said "I'm hoping this'll renew Vegas again and get people back to work," adding that in the '70s everyone from waiters to blackjack dealers and limousine drivers felt the impact of the king's return to his court.
"Everybody was happy when Elvis Presley came to town."
Photos by Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times