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Elvis Presley tribute artists to shake up Columbus

Courtesy of Tony Lentino

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Elvis Presley himself will not be in Columbus, but his former drummer, back-up singer and performers dedicated to keeping Elvis’ legacy alive will still help pay tribute to the “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.”

The performance is scheduled to take place at the Capitol Theatre at 8 p.m. Saturday.

O.M.A.R. presents: “The Elvis Tribute Artist Spectacular: Birthday Edition” is in its 24th year and tours throughout January commemorating Elvis’ birthday. “The King” would have turned 77 on Jan. 8.

D.J. Fontana, Elvis’ drummer for the first 14 years of his career, and Estelle Brown, one of Elvis’ former back-up singers in Sweet Inspirations (a group that performed and recorded with Presley), will return to the stage in the show.

Fontana and Brown will be accompanied by The Fabulous Ambassadors Band and four award-winning tribute artists (they shy away from the term “impersonator”) who will be performing Elvis’ hit songs while dressed in outfits inspired by his iconic wardrobe.

“(Fans) can expect to see and hear a musical journey throughout Elvis’ entire career from his earliest songs in the late 1950s all the way up through his Las Vegas in concert years,” said Danny Lentino, director of the show.

For Brown, the tribute show serves as a way for her to keep Elvis’ memory alive.

“I don’t think I could have experienced anything in life greater than being with Elvis,” Brown said. “Most people say, ‘Oh you’re so lucky, you’re so lucky.’ I say, ‘No, I am not lucky, I’ve been blessed. That was a blessing. It’s a blessing to have worked with him and (I am) still working with him.’ … Anybody attending the show will experience something that they missed if they didn’t see Elvis.”

Donny Edwards, Kavan Hashemian, Cody Ray Slaughter and Shawn Klush are the four tribute artists who will be performing as Elvis’ in Saturday’s show.

Edwards will be opening the show and performing a rendition of Elvis’ music from the 1950s. Hashemian, a Columbus native who was featured on a 2007 British Broadcast Corporation special of Elvis tribute artists, will be performing music from Elvis’ military years.

The youngest of the four tribute artists performing Saturday and Elvis Presley Enterprises’ current “Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist,” Slaughter, 20, will be assuming the role of Elvis in black leather. This look can be attributed to Presley during his controversial 1960s television performances.

The show will conclude with a tribute performance by Klush, named Elvis Presley Enterprises’ first “Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist” and voted the “World’s Greatest Elvis,” by 6.5 million viewers of the BBC show, “One in London.”

“His Elvis tribute is like no other,” Lentino said. “(Klush) has got the very soul and heart of Elvis in him. People kind of lose the fact that it is an impersonator on stage there anymore … They forget where they are and what they are doing and believe that they are honestly seeing Elvis.”

Ticket prices range from $36 to $59 after convenience fees and can be purchased at the Ohio Theatre Ticket Office or online at www.ticketmaster.com.

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