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Collected Stories - Theatre Review |
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Channelling the King - Q&A with Rick Pasqualone
By Harrison Held
Rick Pasqualone as Elvis in "Channelling the King"
Photo by Bobby Bank
Tell us about "Channeling the King."
This is a one-man show about the relationship between Jessie Haldeman, a nebbishy insurance salesman, and Elvis Presley. Jessie's struggling insurance business gets a sudden boost when he begins to channel The King of Rock n' Roll during his seminars. As the show unfolds, conflicts arise, secrets are revealed and Elvis takes the stage!
Your show is specifically billed as a play with music and not a tribute show. How is it different from the other Elvis Tribute shows?
It's not just about putting on a jumpsuit and singing some Elvis songs. This is a two-character play with moments of real drama and humor that explores two souls who are essentially searching for the same truth. We tried to incorporate the music into the story.
Tell me about your approach to the character of Elvis
I watched hours of footage, listened to interviews and concerts and tried to focus on a few things. First, he was really funny. Never took himself too seriously. Also, he had this public life as the biggest star in the world that was in sharp contrast to his humble upbringings and desire to be a good father, husband, and son. He was human and had flaws like we all do.
As an actor, what is the draw for you to perform in this role?
It's a huge challenge to not only honor his artistry but to make it believable. I tried to imagine what it would be like for Elvis to be back in front of an audience after almost 40 years. I knew if it ever became a caricature, the show would be over. Jessie is fun to play because he's a total mess but has an inner strength that propels the story forward.
What is it like to do one-man show that often incorporates some improv and singing (with respect to audience response)?
The audience interaction is my favorite part of the show. Their faces light up when I joke with them or hand them a scarf during a song. We wanted it to be an intimate experience. Elvis was a powerful singer so I also did some intense vocal training to build up my stamina.
Why do you enjoy it? What do you get out of it?
C'mon who doesn't want to be a king for a day! Plus it's a great aerobic workout.
What feeling do you hope audience members walk away with at the end of a show?
I hope people care about Jessie's journey as much as seeing Elvis do his thing!
Are there any plans to take this to New York or any other city?
Absolutely! There are Elvis fans everywhere and this is a story that a lot of people will relate to.
"Channeling the King"
play November 17-18 at The Hudson Mainstage Theatre.
November 06, 2017 12:33 pm
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