‘Heartbreak Hotel,’ new Elvis tribute, to open on Las Vegas Strip

Updated February 22, 2019 - 9:58 am

Fans of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll are gonna find a new place to dwell.

“Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel in Concert,” charting the King’s early years, opens at Harrah’s Showroom on April 15, performing 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Mondays (dark Tuesdays) with additional 3 p.m. performances Sundays. (Tickets are on sale Tuesday and start at $49, minus fees, and are available at Harrah’s box office, harrahslasvegas.com, ticketmaster.com or by calling 702-777-2782.)

The future of the show “Heartbreak” is replacing — Tenors of Rock — is unclear. It is certain the Tenors end their run at Harrah’s on March 25. Producer Seth Yudof of UD Factory says venue renovations need to be agreed upon before the five-man vocal group can announce its next home (with Sin City Theater leading the list of possible rooms). The Tenors have held down the 8 p.m. slot but have been reviewing venues ever since Caesars Entertainment became interested in the Presley show.

The Righteous Brothers are holding down the 6 p.m. slot at Harrah’s Showroom on Tuesdays through Thursdays.

The “Heartbreak” concert show is something the prequel to “Million Dollar Quartet,” the production depicting the Dec. 6, 1956, meeting between Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins at Sun Studios that played Harrah’s for nearly four years before ending in 2016. The Vegas show is inspired by the musical originally written and directed by Floyd Mutrux, adapted for the stage by Ivan Menchell. Broadway veteran Jeff Calhoun is staging the show at Harrah’s.

“Heartbreak” most recently played Chicago’s Broadway Playhouse Place from June 30-Sept. 9. Similar to “MDQ,” the music in the rock ‘n’ roll show is performed live. But unlike “MDQ” and its own original production, the Vegas versoin of the Elvis show is primarily a concert performance. There is band banter, but no script, in this show.

A holdover from the show’s earliest edition, Eddie Clendening, is tackling the lead role as the King.

Clendening is a star among Elvis tribute artists, originating the Presley role in “MDQ” on Broadway for 2,200 performances. The Blue Moon Boys, Elvis’s original backing band, are represented by Matt Codina, who originated the role of guitarist Scotty Moore in the musical; bassist Jonny Bowler, who has backed Wanda Jackson, Guana Batz and Levi Dexter; drummer Cole Maxwell, who has backed Andre Williams, Dick Dale and Brian Setzer; and pianist/music director Colte Julian, who portrayed Lewis on “MDQ’s” national tour.

Significantly, “Heartbreak” is an estate-licensed production formally authorized by Elvis Presley Enterprises and Authentic Brands Group. The show’s producers, Robbins Lane Entertainment, have a history in Las Vegas with its “Rock of Ages” musical, which ran at Venetian and Rio for a little more than three years, ending New Year’s Day 2017.

“There is no better place for ‘Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel in Concert’ to perform than in Las Vegas, the city where Elvis Presley performed some of his most memorable shows,” Scott Prisand, producer for Robbins Lane Entertainment, said in a statement. Seth Fass of Robbins Lane added, “Whether you love Elvis, love his music or just love a good storytelling concert about the birth of rock ‘n’ roll, this production has something for everyone.”

But even as Presley and Las Vegas are inexorably linked, the Elvis brand has not been a surefire hit in major Vegas venues. The Elvis Presley Enterprise-licensed Elvis show and museum attraction faltered at Westgate Las Vegas (in the very theater Presley sold out 636 consecutive shows) in the spring of 2015.

Also, “Viva Elvis,” a highly anticipated and seemingly invulnerable partnership between Cirque du Soleil and the Elvis estate at Aria, closed in a 2½-year run in August 2012. That show was the rare Cirque production that did not take hold in Vegas, even as a tribute to one of the city’s greatest entertainers.

But Elvis survives as a key figure in “Legends in Concert” at Tropicana, and with Steve Connolly’s long-running “Spirit of the King” show at Four Queens. The Elvis-powered “All Shook Up” has been running for five years at V Theater at Miracle Mile Shops. And Pete “Big Elvis” Vallee has been churning out the Presley hits for 22 years on the Strip. Today, you can find him at Piano Bar at Harrah’s, just downstairs from the entrance of “Heartbreak Hotel.”

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts.Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

Entertainment Videos
Andrew Carmean will be the only local participant in upcoming demolition derby
Andrew Carmean, a demolition driver, will be the only local participant in upcoming derby at the Plaza Hotel. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Masso Osteria first anniversary in Las Vegas
Scott Conant was in town Tuesday to host a one-year anniversary party for his Red Rock Resort restaurant Masso Osteria.
Baked Alaska a specialty at Favorite Bistro in Las Vegas
Award-winning pastry chef Claude Escamilla makes Baked Alaska with strawberry sorbet and vanilla gelato and flames it at Favorite Bistro at The Linq Promenade in Las Vegas. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Chili cooks face fierce and friendly competition at Nevada cook-off
Forty chili cooks competed in the Nevada State Chili Cookoff in Pahrump on Sunday, March 17, 2019, with the winners advancing to the World Championship Chili Cook-off in Des Moines, Iowa. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Arcade ‘speakeasy’ leads to secret door and Banksy art in Las Vegas
Arcade ‘speakeasy’ leads to secret door, Banksy art in Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Hazel in Las Vegas serves modern takes on traditional cocktails
Hazel serves modern takes on traditional cocktails (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas celebrates St. Patrick's Day
Tonight the city lit the Welcome sign green, McMullan's Irish Pub and the Guinness store also prepare for this weekend's St. Patrick's Day festivities. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Reuben sandwich at Served in Henderson, near Las Vegas
Matthew Meyer, chef/owner of Served, makes a Reuben sandwich with house-brined corned beef, house-made sauerkraut and gooey melted cheese at his restaurant in Henderson, outside Las Vegas. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Las Vegas day club season returns with big-name DJs
Rick Ross, March 23, at Daylight Beach Club at Mandalay Bay The Chainsmokers, March 30, at Encore Beach Club Marshmello, April 6, Kaos Dayclub at the Palms Chuckie, May 11, Marquee Dayclub at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas Calvin Harris, May 11, Wet Republic at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Pizza expert Chris Bianco makes meatballs in Las Vegas
Chris Bianco, who was the keynote speaker at the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas, demonstrates meatball making for expo attendees. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Las Vegas pulmonologist talks about new movie dealing with cystic fibrosis
Dr. Craig Nakamura, Director of Cystic Fibrosis Center of Southern Nevada, talks about the upcoming romantic drama “Five Feet Apart” where both of the lead characters suffer from cystic fibrosis. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
World Pizza Champion crowned in Las Vegas
At the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas, Italian pizzaiolo Federico De Silvestri took the top prize and more than $12,000. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Italian wins Pizza Maker of the Year at Pizza Expo
Federico De Silvestri of Verona, Italy, wins the finals in the non-traditional pizza category during the International Pizza Challenge at the International Pizza Expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center Thursday, March 7, 2019. De Silvestri went on to beat winners from each of the four other categories — traditional, pan, pizza Napoletana and Roman — to win Pizza Maker of the Year. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Good Pie Coming To Arts District
Local pizzaiolo Vincent Rotolo says Good Pie is coming to the Arts District. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Local comedian says "It's ok to laugh, ...the comedy club is dark."
K-Von, a half-Persian comedian, talks about his style of comedy which keeps audiences entertained.
Pizza Dough Throwing Competition
Contestants participate in the World Pizza Games at the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas, Wednesday night. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
World Pizza Games showcased in Las Vegas
The World Pizza Games, part of the International Pizza Expo, drew competitors from all over the world to Las Vegas to compete in events such as dough stretching and box folding. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Pizza competitors dazzle at international expo
The International Pizza Expo at Las Vegas Convention Center included the first rounds of the World Pizza Games. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas showcases products and trends
At the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas, vegan and gluten-free menu choices and compostable packaging were highlighted, as well as Detroit-style and Roman-style pizza. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Chef Dan Krohmer talks about a new restaurant
Chef Dan Krohmer talks about the construction of his new restaurant at Fremont Street’s Fergusons Downtown complex in downtown Las Vegas. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Neon Museum lights up the Hard Rock Cafe guitar sign
The Neon Museum in Las Vegas flipped the switch on its latest acquisition Monday night, the Hard Rock Cafe guitar sign. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
A Taste of Eataly Las Vegas
Executive Chef Nicole Brisson gives a tour around Eataly Las Vegas, located in the Park MGM. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Order a pretty purple cocktail at North Italia in Las Vegas
Order a pretty purple cocktail at North Italia in Las Vegas (Janna Karel/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Towering triple decker sandwich at Sadelle’s at Bellagio in Las Vegas
Jonah Resnick, executive chef of Sadelle’s, the newest restaurant at Bellagio in Las Vegas, serves a daunting concoction of roast beef layered with house-made cole slaw, turkey and more cole slaw, on rye bread. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal)
Paris Las Vegas Debuts New Eiffel Tower Light Show
The Paris in Las Vegas unveiled its latest Eiffel Tower light show, Wednesday evening. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Video: Las Vegas Omelet House Marks 40th anniversary
Omelet House at Charleston Boulevard and Rancho Drive in Las Vegas, which opened in 1979, is a locals’ favorite, known for fluffy six-egg omelets. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Golden Knights' Ryan Reaves readying new beer
Ryan Reaves, a forward with the Golden Knights, has plans for a second beer, a lager, through his 7Five Brewing Co. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Bellagio Adds Lady Gaga To The Fountain Playlist
Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” has been added to the rotation of classic tunes played for the dancing waters at Lake Bellagio. The song debuted at 6 p.m. Monday. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Comedian uses laughter to bring understanding about AIDS
Comedian Brandon Cox Sanford talks about how he uses his comedy sketches to bring light to his AIDS diagnosis. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
20th anniversary of the House of Blues in Las Vegas
Sasha Rincon-Camacho, regional marketing director, talks about the 20th anniversary of the House of Blues in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Home Front Page Footer Listing