By TOM ROBB Journal & Topics Reporter
The “King” visited the Rosemont Theater on Saturday, Feb. 4. Or more accurately, four male performers were on the local stage paying homage to Elvis Presley through the four periods of his fabulous career.
The sold out, mesmerized crowd of 3,500 reacted to the show as if the four performers were actually the King himself.
As the curtain opened to unveil a small three-piece band led by actor Victor Trevino who was dressed in black with a pink jacket and a popped color, the audience was taken back to the spot where Elvis got his big break in the 1950s, Sun Records in Memphis, TN. The first song that was performed was “That’s All Right,” an early Elvis favorite. From then on there was no stopping Elvis—all four of them—nor the excited audience that was on its feet for most of the time.
Trevino with expert backing from band members playing a hollow body electric guitar, stand up bass and drums, took full command of the stage and the crowd with a rousing rendition of “Heart Break Hotel.”
As the show progressed and the crowd of toe-tappers really got into the high-energy environment, Elvis’ career was taken through the 50s, 60s and into the 1970s. Bill Cherry, clad in Elvis’ trademark 1970s attire consisting of a white jump suit with cape, got the crowd jumping to its feet with a rousing medley of “America the Beautiful” and “Glory, Glory Halleluiah”—all against a landscape of huge video displays, pomp and a highly-charged entourage of talented dancers and singers.
“Elvis Lives” covered four eras of the King’s career: the 1950s portrayed by Trevino, the “Movie Era” Elvis of the early 1960s portrayed by Kevin Mills, the 1968 Comeback era
Elvis, Ben Klein, clad in the black leather of the famous television special, and the 1970s concert years of an Elvis clad in white as portrayed by Cherry.
What separated the men portraying Elvis on the Rosemont Theatre stage with other impersonators was their uncanny ability to portray the man from Tupelo, MS, in a no nonsense, genuine manner. This was especially true for Trevino who immersed himself into the role of Elvis leaving no one with the feeling that an actor was standing before them.
“Elvis Lives” not only paid homage to all the big, familiar Presley hits but many lesser-known tunes, even addressing the King’s musical foundation in Gospel and his time in the U.S. Army.
Joining Mills in the 1960s renditions was Lori Russo as a flirtatious Ann Margaret singing duets like “My Baby Loves Me.” She was so good that more than once she stole the stage.
In the 1968 Comeback era and during final portions of the show as many as 40 women rushed the stage to get closer to Elvis—the same as what happened some 40 years ago. Ben Klein as 1968 Elvis and Cherry clad all in 1970s white, handed out scarves and threw kisses to the women. One thrilled 70-year-old fan had Happy Birthday sung to her by the King, another presented Elvis a scarf emblazoned with his image, and a third female, wearing a beehive hairdo, long gown and elbow length gloves caught the attention of security when she climbed on a riser near the stage to wave at the King.
Elvis Lives was a remarkable show of spine-tingling music, hip-jiggling fun and a trip down memory lane that few in the audience will ever forget.