Elvis Will Be in the Building! Scott Siegel Presents Salute to Rock ‘n Roll Legend on March 7. Composer/Hit Maker Larry Gatlin to Guest
By: Ellis Nassour
Scott Siegel will present a salute to the music of Elvis Presley on March 7 at 7pm at 54 Below. "The King of Rock ‘n Roll," who would have turned 80 in January, is one of the most celebrated and influential singers and recording artists of the 20th Century. Special guest star will be top-selling country and pop Grammy-winning artist and an Academy of Country Music Male Vocalist of the Year, Larry Gatlin.
Other guests on the program will be Drama Desk winner and Tony nominee Martin Vidnovic, DD nominees Ray McLeod and Steve Rosen, Emily Padgett [Daisy Hilton in the 2014 revival of Side Show], and cabaret stars Carole J. Bufford, Lumiri Tubo, and Lennie Watts.
Gatlin, who wrote "Bitter They Are, the Harder They Fall" and "Help Me" for Presley, starred on Broadway in The Will Rogers Follies. He’ll be dropping by in the midst of his national tour and appearances on the Grand Ole Opry.
The show will cover Presley’s colossal career on record and film over three decades. Among the classic hits to be performed are "Are You Lonesome Tonight," "Can’t Help Falling in Love," "Heartbreak Hotel," "In the Ghetto," "It’s Now or Never," "Jailhouse Rock," "Love Me Tender," "Suspicious Minds," and "You’re the Devil in Disguise." Ian Herman is arranger and music director.
Siegel, already use to wearing many hats for his acclaimed Town Hall series (Broadway by the Year/Decade, Broadway Unplugged) adds another for the Presley tribute: In addition to producing, writing, and hosting, he’ll also direct. "In fact, he says, it appears I’ll be doing everything that’s not musical. You do not want to hear me sing ‘Blue Suede Shoes,’ though I’ve owned a pair somewhere in my past."
The host with the most adds, "It’s very cool to have the composer of two songs that Elvis recorded on hand to sing them — especially when that composer has had 33 Top 40 hits and won Grammys. We are honored that Larry Gatlin is taking part in the show. Talk about surprises. When I informed Larry that Ray [McLeod] would be on the bill, he said, ‘Great! He’s my cousin!’ With a little luck, they’ll perform a duet of an Elvis number."
There are other personal connections to the material. "Martin [Vidnovic] has a great personal story that goes with the songs he’ll be singing," notes Siegel, "but the story is his tell. Not mine."
Presley is still the top-selling solo artist in history – with album sales of more than 600 million worldwide. His tunes raced to the top of the charts — pop, blues, and gospel. The iconic star, who radically changed the world of music and who became an influence on countless other artists, was awarded Gold and Platinum status for sales of hundreds of singles and albums.
Amazingly, with 14 Grammy nominations, Presley only won four over his career arc. They were in the Gospel category. However, in the early 70s, he was honored with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Presley died in 1977 at the age of 42.
Admission for Scott Siegel’s Elvis Presley salute is $35 and $45, with premium seating at $70 and a $25 food/beverage minimum. To reserve, call (646) 476-3551.