ALHAMBRA AFTER DARK- ELVIS IS BACK!

A DUAL CRITICS REVIEW by Dick Kerekes & Leisla Sansom

Elvis Presley was back, on stage at Alhambra Theatre and Dining during February 7 – 11, 2018, where the legendary entertainer was portrayed by Kevin Mills. Eager fans throughout the area gathered to see and hear an artist who is considered one of the best at recreating the legend of The King. The entire run was sold out. 

Kevin Mills began his journey in this role back in Memphis, Tennessee when he entered the “Images of the King” contest. His performance was so well received that it launched his career. He performed at Bill Clinton’s presidential inauguration, and has performed on Disney Cruise Lines, the Jerry Lewis Telethon, and numerous tours.

Mills has a marvelously conditioned physique, which allows him to sing all those wonderful songs and in addition display all the mannerisms and gestures that Elvis fans know and cherish. He wore a black jumpsuit in the first act, which he replaced with a dazzling white one in the second act.

The song-packed show was two hours long, and included a number of Elvis’s hit songs, with “Hound Dog,” “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Love Me Tender,” “Blue Suede Shoes,” and “Green Green Grass of Home” among them. Mills also sang a number of selections that Elvis recorded that did not reach the popularity of his record-breaking hits. Notably, he included “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain, which was the last known song that Elvis sang before his death in 1977.

When Elvis offered candy kisses and hugs to his fans, many swooning ladies joined a long line winding to the stage and were rewarded with these treats. Later, he walked through the audience passing out scarves, which were also well-received. After the show Elvis came out to the lobby to pose for photos for these adoring fans

Mills was backed by a fantastic band that he indicated he has worked with for several years. They included John Cochran (Drummer/ Percussionist), Jimmy Slade (Bass/Vocals), Joel Hursey (Organ/Piano/Vocals), Gary Hicks (Lead Guitar/Vocals), and Rick Pope (Keyboard); Debra Rider and Robin Kinsey were backup singers. Trevor Marino was the Producer/Director; his son Trevor Hodge appeared as Charlie Hodge, Elvis’s stage assistant.

Thanks go to Elvis and the gang for an outstanding show.

All of this fun was preceded by a gourmet dinner with a choice of Memphis Ribs, Salmon Florentine En Croute, Fettuccine Bolognese, and Vegetable Manicotti. Desserts included Peanut Butter and Banana Pie or Strawberry Shortcake.

The Alhambra After Dark Series has become one of the hottest tickets in town. Productions are scheduled for several days between the Alhambra’s regularly scheduled shows, and have featured many outstanding tribute artists in the past, who have portrayed such greats as Willie Nelson, Reba McEntire, Barbra Streisand, and Dean Martin.

A tribute to Buddy Holly and the Crickets will be staged during March 28 – April 1. Judging by the popularity of “The Buddy Holly Story” on the Alhambra’s stage, the After Dark production will be another sellout. For tickets, call 904-641-1212 or visit alhambrajax.com.

About Dick Kerekes & Leisla Sansom

The Dual Critics of EU Jacksonville have been reviewing plays together for the past nine years. Dick Kerekes has been a critic since 1980, starting with The First Coast Entertainer and continuing as the paper morphed into EU Jacksonville. Leisla Sansom wrote reviews from time to time in the early 80s, but was otherwise occupied in the business world. As a writing team, they have attended almost thirty Humana Festivals of New America Plays at Actors Theatre in Louisville, Kentucky, and many of the annual conferences sponsored by the American Theatre Critics Association, which are held in cities throughout the country. They have reviewed plays in Cincinnati, Chicago, Miami, Sarasota, Minneapolis, Orlando, New York, Philadelphia, Sarasota, San Francisco, Shepherdstown, and The Eugene O’Neill Center in Waterford, Massachusetts. They currently review about one hundred plays annually in the North Florida area theaters, which include community, college, university, and professional productions.

october, 2021

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