Well we are neither moody nor blue! The North American premiere of Elvis: A Musical Revolution at Walnut Street Theatre begins previews October 3, ahead of its official opening October 11. The new bio-musical previously received a world premiere staging in Australia.
The Walnut Street production is directed and choreographed by two-time Tony nominee Jeff Calhoun. Elvis: A Musical Revolution features a book by Sean Cercone and David Abbinanti, as well as orchestrations, arrangements, and additional music and lyrics by Abbinanti. The musical is based on a concept by Floyd Mutrux.
Elvis Presley is an American cultural icon, with more than 149 songs charting on the Billboard Hot 100, including 18 Number 1s, which spent a total of 80 weeks on the top of the charts. He holds the record for record for most Top 40 hits at 114, and is the best selling solo artist of all time. "Jailhouse Rock," "Hound Dog," "That's All Right," "All Shook Up," "Suspicious Minds," "Heartbreak Hotel," "Burning Love," "Blue Suede Shoes," "Good Rockin' Tonight," "Earth Angel," "Don't Be Cruel," "Are You Lonesome," "Blue Moon of Kentucky," "See See Rider," "Can't Help Falling In Love," "A Little Less Conversation," and more have been licensed from Presley's catalog for the biomusical.
Lucas Pastrana stara as Elvis Presley in the Walnut Street production, alongside Jenna Pastuszek as Priscilla Presley/Dixie, Rebecca Robbins as Gladys Presley, and Paul L. Nolan as Vernon Presley. The role of Young Elvis is shared by Joey Caroto and Hunter Silverman.
They are joined by Chali Cooke as Betty, Edward C. Smith as Roy Brown, Ken Sandberg as Scotty Moore, Kelly Briggs as Colonel Parker, Asa Somers as Sam Phillips, James David Larson as Bill Black, Kara Haller as Marion, and James Kern as Ronnie. The ensemble consists of Christopher McCrewell, Meredith Beck, Tiara Greene, and Chris Fitting .
In addition to Calhoun, the creative team features music and vocal director Chris Burcheri, scenic designer Roman Tatarowicz, lighting designer Michael Gilliam, sound designer Ed Chapman, and costume designer Mary Folino. The associate director is Kikau Alvaro, and the projection designer is Caite Hevner.
Presley-themed musicals are nothing new; the classic Strouse and Adams musical Bye Bye Birdie was based on national reaction to Presley's being drafted into the army (with the character of Conrad Birdie serving as a satirical stand-in for the singer); his music has been adapted into a non-biographical jukebox musical, All Shook Up; and Presley appears as a main character in the historical musical Million Dollar Quartet.
It is notable, however, that this is the first Presley biomusical to be licensed by Elvis Presley Enterprises, as well as the first Presley biographical project to be overseen by EPE as led by his granddaughter Riley Keough, following the death of Lisa Marie Presley in 2023, and the removal of Priscilla Presley from the Presley trust.
For more information, visit WalnutStreetTheatre.org.