Preview by Jack Foley
ELVIS Presley-mania could well be hitting the West End from April,
when Jailhouse Rock: The Musical opens at the Piccadilly
The 'amazing project' will star Mario Kombou, a self-confessed
Presley fan and former north London hairdresser, in the role of
Vince Everett, a role which helped to catapult a young Elvis to
The show tells the story of a young man (Everett), from the wrong
side of the tracks, who discovers his own musical talent while
doing time, and emerges to become the world's greatest rock 'n'
However, he later discovers that he isn't ready for the pressures
that money and fame can bring.
Produced by Theatre Partners, Jailhouse Company and Volcanic
Island, Jailhouse Rock: The Musical is directed by Rob
Bettinson and choreograped by Drew Anthony. It will open at the
Piccadilly Theatre on April 19, following previews from March
Although based on the film, the musical will tell a much bigger
story and will use hit songs from the era.
The production will also chart the birth of rock 'n' roll, by
pinpointing its roots in the black music of the time and 'showing
how singers like Presley and those who were writing for artists
like him carried those influences over into the American teenage
A launch event was held at the Hard Rock Cafe, in Hyde Park,
on January 9, 2004, at which Kombou gyrated his way through a
couple of Elvis classics, Suspicious Minds and Burning
He was joined at the event by Preslye's cousin and commemorative
author, Donna Presley Early, who predicted 'huge huge success'
for the show.
The film itself was released in 1957, a year after Presley's
Love Me Tender screen debut. But it cemented his reputation
as one of the most exciting performers of his generation and paved
the way for a phenomenally successful career.
Jailhouse Rock marks the latest collaboration from Alan
Janes and Rob Bettinson, best known for Buddy Holly bio-musical
Buddy, which ended its record-breaking 12 years in the
West End in March 2002.
Other members of the cast include Lisa Peace (as Peggy van Aulden),
Roger Alborough (Hawk Houghton) and Gilz Terara (Quickly Robinson).
Prior to its West End run, Jailhouse Rock will visits Plymouth
and Manchester, and tickets are now on sale from the usual outlets.