When, in 1983, the Legends in Concert review first took the stage in Las Vegas; a new era in entertainment was born. Though initially maligned as impersonators, the show that featured singers singing as legendary performers in their prime quickly became recognized for what it truly was; a tribute. Since then, tribute performances have become a nearly perpetually growing sector of live performance, drawing thousands upon thousands of audience members along the way.
To say that manager Mark Erwin was trying to create the ultimate tribute show is a bit of a stretch, but after working for many years with one of the world’s most lauded Elvis tribute performers in Steve Michaels, he was well on the way whether he knew it or not. Erwin invited a few other performers to join his Elvis for a New Year’s show in 2017 and the result was lightning in a bottle. The idea for American Icons was born.
This brand new multi-star tribute show comes to the Rose Theatre on May 10.
“We had to be cognizant of what already existed in the market place and what would separate us from the house league,” says Erwin. “This was not Legends!”
Erwin himself had traveled extensively and has attended many legends-style performances and noted most in attendance were enjoying a mere 50-70% of the show. As far as he was concerned, this was unacceptable.
“There can not be a single weak link in the chain,” explains Erwin, “and each member of the cast needs to be flawless.”
So, after months of auditions, rehearsals, cuts, choices, arrangements, and choreography, the show was ready to hit the stage. Featuring tributes to, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Frankie Valli, Roy Orbison, and Elvis himself, the show promises much for its potential audience.
“Believe me, this line up of performers are the best of the very best,” says Erwin. “We firmly believe the best in the world!”
The cast has quite a string of credits too. Whether it’s in the Mirvish production of Million Dollar Quartet, onstage in Jersey Boys, or even touring the world with Shania Twain, the performers bringing the icons to life are no stranger to wowing crowds.
The Icons will be backed by an expert ensemble of instrumentalists and singers. The same group that backs Steve Michaels’ as Elvis every Christmas at the Rose. The show also features expert choreography, multimedia elements and projections designed to maximize the shows impact.
Of course, the most element of a show like this is the music itself.
“There was a lot of material to cover,” continues Erwin, “and hours of preparation and research went into preparing the setlist.”
Indeed, selecting from the catalogues of these legendary performers might be the toughest part of putting a show like this together. What to leave out would seem a herculean task.
“We can guarantee you all songs are timeless American classics and song book treasures,” says Erwin. “The selections were not only chosen to spotlight the entertainer but chosen based on chart position, and popularity.”
Erwin insists that the audience at the Rose is in for a treat.
“The fans there, the venue, and the employees make it one of our most enjoyable experiences,’ he says. “they will be taken down memory lane!”
American Icons perform at the Rose Theatre May 10 at 8pm.
Tickets are available by calling (905) 874-2800 or online here.