Viva Elvis is a tribute show by Cirque du Soleil in honor of the King of Rock and Roll Elvis Presley. The show covers a great deal of his music and illustrates them as only the Cirque du Soleil can, dynamically, energetically, and lovingly. When the show first opened it got rather mixed reviews, but since then the acts have been adjusted and improvements made. I half expected not to like the show since I was never that into Elvis’s music, but this show gave me a whole new appreciation of the man, the icon, the legend.
The production is framed using events in his life. His early career (“Blue Suede Shoes”) is set in front of a giant jukebox and features a dynamic group of dancers and acrobats who get the show off to an energetic start. On the screen that is part of the jukebox are images of his euphoric fans.
The next act pays tribute to the enormity of Elvis’ output of work. Again there are dancers gyrating to his music set against a backdrop of gold records. The songs were “Don’t Be Cruel” and “Too Much.”
The next segment was one of the most exciting. To the tune of “One Night With You” two acrobats showed off their skills in a giant outline of a guitar. A female singer, a floating piano, and Elvis’s own voice were part of the mix.
Following this act was a section that dealt with Elvis’s love of gospel. One of the things I learned to appreciate was the breadth of his music from rock, to gospel, to ballads, to a hint of hip-hop.
Another love of Elvis were comic book heroes so Cirque has put together an act of six acrobats dressed as superheroes doing a stunning act on trampolines as they defy gravity and fly through the air.
The next three acts were dedicated to Elvis’s service in the army. First with a montage of his two years in the army to the tune of “Love Me Tender” played on a guitar and sung by a female singer along with the voice of Elvis. The next scene was a performance art piece of boot camp with dancers, acrobats, and marching band musicians. The scene emphasized his love of country. The last act in this section was a dramatic act using aerial straps whose theme was the loneliness of soldiers being separated from loved ones and the fact of not knowing if and when they would be reunited.
The next section was dedicated to his movie career. Western, New Orleans, culminating in a spectacular Jailhouse Rock section using the iconic prison set used in the movie. Without a doubt this is the highlight of the show. It is flashy, athletic, and exciting.
The last section was takeoffs on individual songs. First ”It’s Now or Never” featuring a female pole dancer who displayed some moves I have never seen before. Next was a thrilling and sensual cerceaux acts with two seven-foot rings shaped like Pricilla and Elvis’s engagement ring. The music fittingly was “Love Me Tender.” Another song illustrated was “Viva Las Vegas,” a colorful spectacular with plumes, showgirls, and Elvis-like costumes based on what he wore in Vegas shows. Other highlights of this section were “Suspicious Minds” with an acrobatic couple, a so called Rock Medley using many more songs, and 15 artists performing a Banquine act wherein several performers interlock their arms to create a platform from which the artists are propelled to fly overhead. The final act was performed to “Hound Dog,” which brought the evening to a raucous hip-gyrating end.
Viva Elvis is being performed at the Aria Resort and Casino. The colorful costumes are by Stephano Canulli. The remixed music was put together by Erich van Tourneau and Ugo Bombardier and used only four female singers and just the voice of Elvis to remarkable results. Vincent Paterson was the writer/director and Armand Thomas was the overall Creation Director. If you loved Elvis or would like to know more about the artist, go see Viva Elvis, playing until the end of the year.