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Cirque du Soleil brings Elvis back to Las Vegas

16 December 2009

LAS VEGAS -- Elvis Presley is back in Las Vegas. And nobody appears to be more thrilled about the return of the King to Sin City than his wife Priscilla.

"This is his rightful place," Priscilla said on Tuesday afternoon at a sneak preview of the Cirque du Soleil Viva ELVIS show at the new Aria Resort & Casino at CityCenter. "Elvis was the first rock n' roll star to come to Vegas and break all of the boundaries. Now, with the help of the wonderful people of Cirque du Soleil, he's doing it again."

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The Viva ELVIS show is a tribute to the life of Presley and mixes dance, acrobatics and, of course, plenty of Elvis music. Significant moments in his life blend with the kind of Elvis songs that are still popular today. Also mixed in are some never-seen-before clips of Presley from his days growing up in Mississippi all the way through the era when he was performing in Las Vegas.

"On a creative level, it was extremely stimulating to draw our inspiration from this musical icon," said Guy Laliberte, Founder of Cirque du Soleil. "Viva ELVIS showcases the raw energy and pure talent of Elvis and highlights the exhilaration and beauty of his music on a grand scale."

Robert F.X. Sillerman says he remembers coming to Las Vegas back in 1971 to see Elvis perform and he walked away "dumbfounded."

"It was a mesmerizing experience and I vowed that I would someday get back to see him again," Sillerman added. "But I never did. Until now."

Sillerman is now the chairman and CEO of CKX. Cirque du Soleil partnered with CKX and its subsidiary Elvis Presley Enterprises to create the show.

"The footage in this show will make your heart stop when you see what a transforming figure Elvis was," Sillerman said. "Elvis Presley is back where Elvis Presley belongs and I am honored and privileged to be a small part of it." "The unique strength and power of Elvis was in his voice," added Vincent Paterson, the show's writer and director. "I was inspired by the originality and complexity of this musical legend. What I tried to paint, in all humility, is the show he might have created today."

Tickets for VIVA Elvis went on sale last week. The show – which is one of seven Cirque du Soleil shows in Vegas – is performed at the impressive Elvis Theater at Aria at the new CityCenter. The theater is velvety and plush featuring comfortable seats with cup-holders and soaring-high ceilings. Preview performances of the show will run though Jan. 28 at a discounted rate as the creative team moves into the final stages of production. When the final edition of the show premieres on Feb. 19 it will run Fridays through Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

In addition to the new theater and the Elvis show, Cirque du Soleil also created the Gold Lounge, a retro modern boutique bar/nightclub that sits adjacent to the theater. The Gold Lounge borrows patterns and design cues from Elvis' Graceland mansion and offers appetizers that the King himself would have enjoyed (donut holes, macaroni and cheese, peanut butter and banana sandwiches) and signature Elvis cocktails like Tupelo Tea, Blue Suede Shoes, Aviator and Graceland. The lounge will also have a DJ after 10 p.m. each night. Next the lounge there is a gift shop full of Elvis collectibles.

"Elvis would be pleased to know that he's back in Vegas," Priscilla added on Tuesday. "And he's back in the Vegas the way he should be. This reminds me of the days before he first performed live in Las Vegas. There's that same sense of excitement."

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Best of Gary Trask
Gary Trask

Gary serves as Casino City's managing editor and has more than 20 years experience as a writer and editor.

A member of the inaugural Poker Hall of Fame Media Committee, Gary enjoys playing poker and blackjack, but spends most of his time sitting in the comfy confines of the sportsbook when in Las Vegas.

The Boston native is also a former PR pro in the golf-casino-resort industry and a fanatical golfer, allowing his two favorite hobbies - gambling and golf - to collide quite naturally.

Contact Gary at gary@casinocity.com and follow him on Twitter at @CasinoCityGT.

Gary Trask Websites:

twitter.com/#!/casinocityGT
Gary Trask
Gary serves as Casino City's managing editor and has more than 20 years experience as a writer and editor.

A member of the inaugural Poker Hall of Fame Media Committee, Gary enjoys playing poker and blackjack, but spends most of his time sitting in the comfy confines of the sportsbook when in Las Vegas.

The Boston native is also a former PR pro in the golf-casino-resort industry and a fanatical golfer, allowing his two favorite hobbies - gambling and golf - to collide quite naturally.

Contact Gary at gary@casinocity.com and follow him on Twitter at @CasinoCityGT.

Gary Trask Websites:

twitter.com/#!/casinocityGT