Graceland in Vegas

GracelandGraceland is a familiar name associated with Elvis Presley as the home of this star in Memphis,Tennessee. About 59 years ago, Presley made his first appearance and began his seven-year residency in Las Vegas. On February 25, 1956, it was a day to remember in history for him. “I Forget to Remember to Forget” became his first number one hit.

Fans will enjoy special Graceland artifacts from the Elvis collection as Las Vegas becomes a permanent site by April 23, 2015. This will occur 59 years to the very day of his first concert appearance. The display of Graceland memorabilia will be shown at the Westgate Hotel and Casino. The items selected are among the rarest of those seen coming from the Graceland mansion. A wedding chapel and a recreation of show concerts will be a part of the Elvis Presley nostalgia brought to Las Vegas. This is a new venture for this kind of exhibition from Graceland to be permanently located outside of Memphis.

Elvis Presley performed in the showroom from 1969 to 1976 to many sold-out ticket crowds. More than 1,100 shows were performed during the last 10 years of his life. Over half of those 1,100 concerts were ticketed at the former Las Vegas Hilton. The Las Vegas hotel that was selected for the memorabilia was originally known as the International Hotel when Elvis Presley started performing in 1969. In 1971, it became known as the Las Vegas Hilton and now is called the Westgate.

The Elvis Enterprises, Inc. is using 28,000 square feet  to remodel this showroom, which has a theater with 1,600 seats to exhibit Graceland in Vegas. However, the number of Graceland artifacts  in the warehouse is so large that  there would not be enough places to exhibit all of it. It was reported that there are over one million items that belong to Elvis Presley in the warehouse storage.

Items selected from Graceland for the Westgate Hotel and Casino include a sign 35 feet high of Presley when he first performed at the Frontier Hotel in 1956 and other billboards, a Presley outfit worn at his first concert at the International Hotel, a 1971 Sturtz Bearcat car owned by Elvis, and a tablecloth that was used for signatures to renegotiate his future concert appearances. Some artifacts will be rotating through the theater. The two-piece black tunic and a single-button black suit are among the selected articles of clothing from Graceland.

“The Elvis Experience” belongs to a series of Graceland performances that will shown first for a limited time. The cost for the exhibit is $22 per ticket and for the performances, the ticket price starts at $49. A rendition of the “The Elvis Experience” that was performed at the former Hilton in the 70s this will be done by the artist Martin Fountaine, 28 musicians, and eight singers.

Currently, there are four or five different shows in production. The Daily Journal reported that a managing partner of the Elvis Enterprises, Inc. stated that this project was created with the idea of “what would Elvis want.”

By Marie A. Wakefield

Las Vegas Sun

USA Today

Las Vegas Review-Journal

Daily Journal

Photo by Natalie Curtiss – Flickr License

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