Wednesday, December 3, 2003
Memphis, Tenn. Always eager to keep Elvis Presley working, managers of his estate have turned their sights on Broadway. "All Shook Up," a musical commissioned by the Elvis Presley estate and featuring a string of Presley's hit songs, is scheduled to open on Broadway in spring 2005.
Before hitting the Great White Way, it will open at Goodspeed Musicals' Norma Terris Theater in Chester, Conn., May 13 through June 6.
Presley died in 1977 at his Memphis residence, Graceland, but his music and his value as an entertainer or advertising pitchman are as alive as ever.
The plot of the musical concerns what happens in a loveless town when a magical jukebox and a lady-loving, leather-clad stranger arrive, producer Jonathan Pollard said Tuesday. It takes place in the mid-1950s in roughly "Anywhere, USA," he added.
"We are going to Goodspeed Chester to get a sense of what we have," the producer told The Associated Press. "It's the first step in the development (of the show)."
The musical will then move to a larger city (not yet decided), before heading to Broadway.
"All Shook Up" is not about Presley and no actor plays him in the show, but it includes 20 of his songs, including such hits as "Heartbreak Hotel,""Love Me Tender" and "Burning Love" as well as lesser-known pieces.
Jack Soden, chief executive of Elvis Presley Enterprises, said he and his staff came up with the Broadway idea about two years ago, largely due to the success of "Mamma Mia!" -- a musical featuring the music of the pop group ABBA.
"If your full-time job is Elvis, we kind of do think tanks. We sit around and we look at the world, and what are the opportunities for us," Soden said.
Joe DiPietro, author of the musical "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change," was hired to write the play and came up with the story. The estate didn't want a Presley biography.
"It probably wouldn't succeed because it would be dismissed as a highly produced Elvis impersonator show," Soden said.
Pollard has lined up several backers for the show, including Clear Channel Entertainment and Miramax Films.