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Jaming With Elvis
Jaming With Elvis

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PostSubject: 'Elvis' plans Springfield gig   Sun Mar 01, 2009 10:45 pm

The Republican
by Keith J O'Connor
March 1, 2009

Elvis is in the building.
At CityStage in Springfield to be exact.

Matt Lewis, who has headlined around the globe with the world-famous "Legends in Concert" show and who USA Today named "The Best Elvis in Vegas," is bringing his "Long Live the King" show to the Springfield stage for six days beginning on Tuesday. (March 3 2009)

"People tend to have their favorite Elvis periods, so we try to hit every era in the show so audiences can get to see their favorite," Lewis said.

The popular Elvis impersonator noted his 90-minute plus show will take audiences from Elvis in his early years of swiveling hips through the movie years and his 1968 black leather comeback special on television to his white jump suit days in Las Vegas.

"It's a very energetic, high-paced show complete with a band and two dancing girls," Lewis said.

The dancing girls are an added inspiration to the show, as is the accompanying video constantly running in the background which serves in part as a replacement for the Jordanaires, Elvis' longtime popular backup singers.

"While we have live musicians, our background vocals are on tracks, however, the video allows the audience to see some background singers on the screen behind me instead," Lewis said.

"For example, when I sing 'Return to Sender' the group that performs as the Temptations in our Legends show in Las Vegas can be seen singing background in front of the famous Las Vegas sign," he added.

Lewis said the video screen is also used during a "very quick one minute and 15 second costume change when I have Ed Sullivan introduce a song." In another instance, while dressed as Elvis on stage, the audience will see Lewis doing his own backup vocals as seen in the studio singing them.

Over the past 10 years, Lewis has devoted 90 percent of his entertaining to performing as Elvis in the "Legends In Concert" show, with the last five years at the show's home at Imperial Palace Hotel on the Las Vegas strip. He has also appeared on NBC's "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," featured on several pages of "Entertainment Weekly," and starred in a major feature film entitled "Tears Of A King."

Lewis first impersonated Elvis at a school talent show at the age of 12 and was rewarded with second place for his efforts. But it wasn't until seven years later that his talents would truly be recognized with first place honors in "The Best Elvis in Kansas City" garnering him a trip to Graceland courtesy of the radio station promoting the contest.

"After that first contest, impersonating Elvis became pretty much a job for me through high school. Suddenly people were paying me $100 to sing at their parties. I was only 12 and I had never seen a $100 bill before," Lewis said.

"I thought this was really good money and I was getting a lot of attention, so I decided to study Elvis more and watched a lot of videos of him. My dad then started to fix my hair like Elvis, but I couldn't grow any sideburns, so he drew them on, and that's how it really all started for me," he added.

The years in-between those fate changing contests saw Lewis washing dishes at a local restaurant and five years entertaining at a local theme park in Kansas City called "Stax of Wax, a '50s and '60s rock and roll revival. He also signed with an agent and began to work around the country.

Still, Lewis' dream was to become a teacher and he went through five years of college as a student whose alter ego of Elvis Presley kept him working and paying his bills.

Then, suddenly, during his fifth year he decided to drop out of school and pursue becoming an entertainer full-time.

He moved to Branson, Mo., and signed with a show called Mirror Images which Lewis described as "sort of a second-rate Legends-type show which was actually playing down the street from us."

"A month after being with the show it was canceled and I remember sitting on the tailgate of my new truck feeling distraught after just dropping out of school and thinking I would be working in the show forever," Lewis said.

"Somebody once told me if you have something to fall back on you probably will. I had nothing to fall back and couldn't get my classes back so I began knocking on every theater door in town," he added about eventually landing a job in Legends.

Lewis said he hopes to pursue more television and film projects as an actor in the future, not as an impersonator and to direct live stage productions.

Source: http://www.masslive.com/entertainment/republican/index.ssf?/base/entertainment-0/123580934540460.xml&coll=1
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