|IN DEFENCE OF VIVA ELVIS
By Sue From The Viva Las Vegas Elvis Fan Club
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I thought I would write a response to the announcement of changes coming to "Viva Elvis". I am sure there are those who have a concerned reaction and
then there are those who have stated they don't like the show and thought it was a bad idea from the beginning.
To those who have a negative view of the show: Have you ever seen it? If yes, then I respect your opinion. If you have not, then how can you have a review
of something you have never seen except maybe a sample on a computer screen? You truly have not experienced the exciting atmosphere of that theater
or the live performance. I am glad Elvis is back on stage in Las Vegas and I hope the show remains.
I have seen the show 7 times. I have paid for my own ticket, been blessed with complimentary tickets, and recently went when there was a bargain price for
a dress rehearsal performance for charity. The last experience was great because I had not seen the show in over a year. I noticed many little positive
changes that added up, to my delight.
Why do I enjoy the show?
The sets, costumes, choreography, acrobatics, props and music are a feast for the eyes and ears.
I have seen another cirque presentation, "O". Watching "O", it was hard to keep up with all the
action on stage. The big feats are incredible and then there are the little whimsical activities that
feel like a reward if spotted.
When I went to see "Viva Elvis" I knew to expect 'cirque' but did not know what to expect for 'Elvis'.
Well, the sound system is outstanding. I enjoyed the remixes, a couple of the duets (really!), the
costumes, the performances and all the 'cirquey' things I was looking for. I have many favorite
parts of the show. In the very least, there is always something good to notice in each act. 'Bravo!'
to the performers most of all.
I very much enjoy the last section which hearkens back to Elvis live on stage in Vegas (and, on
tour). With video scenes of Elvis performing on the huge screen, the scarves coming down from
the ceiling, the classic showgirls on stage, and Elvis singing 'Hound Dog' in concert, in my mind, it
creates a little bit of the excitement I had when enjoying Elvis in person. I have always walked out
of the theater exhilarated. I notice that in the audience as well.
As for the proposed changes:
Why not? The Beatles 'Love' is not biographical. IT'S ABOUT THE SONGS AND MUSIC, not their
lives. For 'Viva Elvis', I will hopefully add in Elvis' case, his charisma while on stage. So Elvis will
get his chance with the cirque touch.
I have searched my mind and I do hope many good acts stay in the show, but I also can clearly
recall aspects of the show that I believe should be cut and I think that will be good, adding the
consideration that I have seen people repeatedly negatively remark on those same things.
The cirque fans have been frustrated by musical sections containing only singing and the band
with Elvis on video and asking themselves ... where are the special cirque performers? A cirque
show is unrelenting talent in extensive acrobatics and dance. I will concede, the 'Viva Elvis' show
has not been that.
I love the soundtrack. I dearly hope that won't be changed, but I am sure that is under
According to a TV news piece, the last day of the current version will be Jan 8th. All shows will
continue as scheduled up til then.
Kudos to the cirque company for asking for feedback and monitoring audience reaction and attendance. For this first phase, I can appreciate them including
Priscilla Presley, representing EPE. She did not design the show, but she did monitor and I suppose, make suggestions. This was confirmed by a 'Viva Elvis'
speaker I saw during the 'Elvis Fest' at the Hilton.
Time to move on, let Cirque du Soleil do what it does best. I hope to see the current version of the show once more, to see my many favorites in case they
may be removed, but I also look forward to the new version. From what I know of cirque, considering the multiple incarnations we have here in Las Vegas, the
possibilities for Elvis seems very, very thrilling to me.
I realize there are Elvis purists out there. You ask :
What does acrobatics and fancy dance and strange costumes have to do with Elvis? All I can say in response is: they have nothing to do with the Beatles,
and yet their show has been quite successful. (There was an Elvis ballet once...)
Maybe it's just the Cirque concept that not everyone can be interested in. Fair enough.
There are those that prefer the Elvis in Concert concept.
But Elvis on a screen accompanied by live musicians will not work in Las Vegas and that is the goal: a successful Elvis show on a Las Vegas stage.
I attended Elvis in Concert -at the Hilton- in August 1998. It was here for a week and it was not sold out everyday. The concept does not work here. The
audience visiting here wants live performers (yes, up to and including impersonators....) For me, the cirque strikes a balance somehow... bringing live
performance and Elvis 'in spirit' back on stage.
So if you have never seen a cirque show live and just watching the video repulses you and the remixing of Elvis songs has offended you ... I can understand
your feelings. You just desire a different concept in which to experience Elvis.
But to just bash it and that's it ... I don't know what to say.
As for me, I am open to exploring what anyone can produce for Elvis to meet new audiences. Experimenting with vision and resources (like funding!) and
action is what makes it happen.
TCB the best you can for E,