Now, nearly 46 years after his untimely and tragic death, rock star Elvis Presley has still not “left the building” as announcers used to tell eager Elvis fans after his shows, that drew huge crowds wherever he performed...
He is still the subject of shows about him, such as “Elvis: Concert of the Kings,” which is at the Mayo Center for the Performing Arts (MPAC) in Morristown, this coming Saturday, April 1 (3:00pm & 8:00pm).
“The King” is back, this time played by three different actor/singers, devoted to telling you Presley’s life story through his music.
The concert stars Moses Snow as the young Elvis, Vic Trevino as the middle aged Elvis and, finally, Craig Parker as Elvis near his death at the age of 42 from a heart attack possibly brought on by addiction to drugs.
I had a chance to talk to Moses Snow, 20, who began portraying Elvis at the age of 13 or 14 and has now made it his career. He has some dramatic tales to tell and some funny ones.
“Funniest? Whenever I am off stage, just living my life, people of all ages come up to me and tell me how much I look like Elvis. I laugh. I do everything I can not to look like Elvis in my ordinary life…but I do,” he said.
Study his picture. He does look just like him.
Now he is on a tour with the other Elvises (Elvii?). It started back in the summer and extends for the rest of the year. Morristown is one of its many stops.
“When I was young, I was not a real Presley fan, but became one after studying him, watching ALL of his movies and listening to all of his music. I was trying to adopt the style of a star. I tried Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, but none of them worked for me,” he said. “Elvis did. I started dressing like him, imitating his voice and changing my physical appearance to look like him. It worked.”
This biggest thing he did, and this took a lot of work, was to adopt his personality and lifestyle.
“Elvis Presley loved to give away gifts and things. He would give away personal property to fans. He grew up poor and had a spot in his heart for poor people. He would hold massive giveaways in large halls. To me, that was the greatness of Elvis Presley,” said Snow.
Snow has visited Graceland, Elvis’ home, and performed as Elvis all over the world particularly at American music festivals.
The idea of three Elvises in the show was that of Charles Stone, the show’s producer. He was Elvis’ producer for seven years, too. “There are a lot of one man Elvis shows and I wanted something deep. Three Elvises, in three different eras of his life, does that. Audiences get a feel for the man as well as the singer,” he said.
The show chronicles tells the life of Elvis, the singer. His family is not in the show.
Everywhere that Snow goes, he meets Elvis fans, some young and some old. “They all say the same thing about why they liked him when he was alive and still do – he was really different,” Snow said, “and they loved his songs, slow and fast.”
Snow, by the way, sounds remarkably like Elvis when he talks. “Everybody says that. I’m not trying, but I do,” said Snow.
Snow explains that in his role as a young Elvis. “Everything about him was different from singers of the 1950s. His hip swinging, dancing, deep voice, rock singing style with rhthym and blues music – everything. That’s why people liked him back then, especially teenagers. For years, he was the only one with that unique style, He had a lot of hits, too, and the demand for him at concerts around the world was just enormous.”
Snow halted for a moment. “He was also authentic, a real guy?”
I told him the story of an actor who worked with Elvis in a movie as a kid. “Elvis was a very ordinary man to whom God gave extraordinary gifts,’ he said of Elvis.“Well, he got that right. I think that’s a good description of why people loved Elvis,” said Snow.
Does Snow enjoy playing Elvis in the show?
“Oh, yeah,” he said. “I love every minute of it and the three of us get a lot of support from Elvis’ fans who are at our show. It’s a very good feeling for me.”
He has a big future, too. He is booked for a lot more Elvis shows and several in the United Kingdom.
“You’d be surprised at how big Elvis was in the United Kingdom and, well, all over the world. I’ve got bookings everywhere you can think of,” he said.
He has sung every possible Elvis on you can think of. His favorites? Odd.
“One of my favorites is ‘Loving Arms,’” he said.
“Not ‘Love Me Tender’?” I asked.
“Everybody has their own and this is one of mine. It’s not that well known, but I like it,” he said.
OK, my big question…
“Moses, how can a 20 year old guy admire and play a man who died 46 years ago?”
“I don’t know. I just do. Lots of people enjoy the work of singers and actors from the ‘50s and ‘60s and I’m one of them” he said.
So if you want a trip down memory lane with The King, get yourself over to the Mayo Center for the Performing Arts.
Elvis has still not left the building…