(LEAMINGTON, ON) – Appearing as a fundraising initiative for the Bank Theatre Starlight Stage, Graceland’s opening night is scheduled for August 16, the 40th anniversary of Elvis’ death. The opening night production features Elvis fare by Ray’s Ribhouse, Elvis karaoke with Doug Hunter, and the play.
If you can’t go to Memphis come to Graceland, a play about two women wanting to be the first to enter Elvis Presley’s mansion, Graceland, in June 1982.
“It was August 16, 1977, forty years ago,” recalled Wheatley resident Ruth Owens, who plays Bev Davies in the play. “I remember hearing the news on a tour bus in Innsbruck, Austria, when an Australian came up to me and said, ‘Your hero died last night.’ If I had been home in Canada, I would have gone to Memphis that day.”
Perhaps that is why the part of Bev Davies rings so true for Owens.
Bev is Elvis’ No. 1 fan and she has pitched her tent outside of Graceland in June 1982, four days before the mansion is to be opened to the public. Along comes Rootie Mallert, played by Jennifer Blom, who puts her pillow in front of Bev’s lawnchair, and claims that she was there first.
The argument which follows is sometime fierce, mostly funny, and finally heart-warming.
Making her directorial debut, Allison Still has acted in a number of Sun Parlour Players productions, including Shirley Valentine, The Farm Show, and Wrong For Each Other. During the final performance of the latter production, Still’s acting partner, Scott Berry, proposed to her. Berry is also making his debut as the producer of Graceland.
Opening night is August 16 at 7:30pm. Tickets for opening night must be purchased in advance and are $25. For the production only tickets are $10 for performances on August 17 and 18 at 7:30pm, August 19 at 2:00pm or 7:30pm, and August 20 at 2:00pm. Doors open 30 minutes prior to show time.
Graceland is sponsored by the Municipality of Leamington and Counter Effects.