When my ex-husband, 84-year-old veteran actor and stand-up comedian Cork Proctor, got the call to play the ghost of Elvis Presley, he invited me to go with him. The show, Rendezvous With the King, would run for three special nights in Sammy’s Showroom at Harrah’s in Reno, Nevada.
For decades, Cork Proctor was the comic relief in many stage shows in Las Vegas, Reno, and around the US, designed and produced by Greg Thompson. This would be a kind of old-home-week for Cork, as he already knew the company manager, the back-up singers, Sammy’s Showroom, some of the crew, and the producer.
Pick up at the airport in a Harrah’s limo made up for the bus tire explosion in the Andes crossing the mountains to get from our home in Cuenca, Ecuador down to Guayaquil for the flight to the US.
We meet Number One Worldwide Elvis Tribute Artist Pete Storm for the first time. Pete is from London, England, so it was bizarre to hear "Elvis" speak with an English accent! When I asked Pete how tall he is, he said, "Oh, six-three and a bit."
Pete Storm and Cork Proctor—the latter as the ghost of Elvis—read through the show dialogue for the first time together.
While Pete can patter between Elvis songs, he has no formal theatrical training and I hear that now, with story lines to memorize, he is terrified.
Cork, our old Elvis, hasn’t performed in a play in twenty years and at 84 is having trouble memorizing lines. He has major senior stage fright—he’s also terrified.
Producer Greg Thompson says: “Sheesh—I have two stars who don’t know where they’re going…”
That evening in our Harrah’s hotel room, I sit nervous old
Elvis in a chair, make him close his eyes, and do some hypnosis and repeat
positive affirmations. I hold his hand and do my best to calm him.
Can't believe it! Yesterday's preliminary rehearsal
for Rendezvous With the King went
really well— at five a.m. old Elvis woke up worrying that … the costume pants
are a little snug and there's no belt and how will he tuck in his shirt and
maybe he can leave the coat open and are they really going to spray his hair
Lead back-up singer and company manager Sheldon Craig
drives Cork and me to CLICK HERE TO READ MORE
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