How does one begin to assign proper credit to a man who wrote,
produced, directed and starred in his own show? I am almost at
a loss for words, a rare occurrence. But Tony Davis, who
achieved all of the above and with vigor and aplomb, deserves
most of the kudos for the resounding success of “Elvis -
I’ll Remember You,” now playing at the Waukesha Civic
Presley was one of those talented performers who achieved
incredible acclaim during a relatively short life. He had a
very powerful, flexible voice and a style that was unique in
his time. His fans were ecstatic about him, and his fame lives
on, long after his death in 1977. Though he has influenced
many people, no one can replace or perfectly simulate him.
Tony Davis comes close. He has obviously studied his music and
his moves, and almost makes us believe that Elvis has returned
to entertain us once again. I have seen many Elvis imitators
over the years, but Davis comes closest to replicating the man
and his music.
is chronological and episodic in structure. Several narrators
give us some information about his life, starting with his
first recording and ending with his sudden passing. Some of
the narrators are his fans; and others, people who had a
professional connection with him. The show also features
videos on both sides of the stage, which give us live images
of Elvis in some of his movies and concerts. All of these
aspects of the show enhance the story.
of the enjoyment comes from Davis’ unique and authentic
rendition of the King of Rock ‘n Roll himself. Dressed in
black leather or the 10-pound jumpsuit, he gives his all in
doing justice to Elvis’ iconic delivery of a myriad of
tunes, including among many others,
“Love Me Tender,” “Can’t Help Falling in Love
with You,” the “Elvis: ‘68 Comeback Special Montage,”
which included “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Hound Dog,” and
“Are You Lonesome Tonight.” He also sang several
spirituals. Ironically enough, it was his spirituals that won
him Tony Awards three times.
inclusion of a bevy of narrators is a clever way of
transitioning from one sequence of tunes to another. Jeff
Davis, who started the show, immediately gained our attention
with his candid style and homespun humor. Another pair of
giddy older fans, played by Beryl Marrazino and Linda Elder,
are a big hit. The journalist, Tammy Vrba, has great presence
and quite the voice of her own, as evidenced in the closing
numbers. I also liked the bubbly teenager, Sarah Mac Gregor,
who learned of Elvis through her grandmother.
In some of
the concerts, Elvis is flanked by a gaggle of screaming female
fans; in others they feature a quintet of backup singers,
called “Sweet Inspirations,” played by Amber Braun,
Brianna Ernst, Amanda Kerr, Becky Miller and Allison Ruf, all
of whom are rhythmic and melodic.
Elvis even had some interesting audience interactions.
deserves support. It is very well done and will provide a
memorable experience for all who attend.
I’ll Remember You” plays at 8 p.m. Friday, 4 p.m. and 8
p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Waukesha Civic Theatre,
264 W. Main St. Tickets are $23 for adults and $20 for
students and seniors.
information, call 262-547-0708 or visit