A chance meeting with Elvis, a desire to save a family business, a need for money to have a high school prom and a greedy scheme to steal authentic Elvis memorabilia all collide in a south Georgia town, resulting in mass chaos in the Warner Robins Little Theatre’s production of “Who Killed Elvis?”
Cathy Collins, director of the production, said this comedy combines both her love for Elvis and murder.
“This is just a total different feel on Elvis,” she said of the production, which has 30 cast members. “One thing I’m known for in the theater is I always do some kind of murder show. … I am also the avid Elvis fan; I found murder and Elvis combined. It’s comedy; it’s fun, and it’s about Elvis.”
Dot Leach, who plays the role of Ruth, the mother and restaurant owner, said that with the cast containing so many people, it’s a chance to include people who have never been involved before and who are on the stage for the time.
“I love working with Cathy… I’ve done several shows with her. Being able to work with her again is wonderful,” Leach said. “The Elvis memorabilia that is on stage is really amazing. Our stage is a work of art, all on its own. It really is a masterpiece.”
Leach said a large part of the Elvis memorabilia portrayed in the play is authentic and is part of Collins’ personal collection.
Collins said the play starts with the 25th anniversary of Elvis’ death as the setting. The owner of the Drop on Inn Cafe, which was started in the 1950s, is about to lose the business. In an effort to avoid financial ruin, one of the owner’s daughters, Robin (Rebecca Stone), a marketing graduate, decides to key in on a story her grandmother enjoys telling about her chance meeting with Elvis in the restaurant in the 1950s when his car broke down, and he had a burger there.
Robin, Collins said, wants to market the story and change the name of the restaurant to Elvis Ate Here. In addition to the name change, she and her two sisters, Meadowlark (Kyra Ducret) and Peep (Dorothy Seybold) have gone behind their mother’s back and put out fliers for an Elvis impersonation contest with a $500 prize for the winner.
To complicate matters, Collins said that just up the road in Nashville, Tennessee, some authentic Elvis memorabilia has been stolen, which eventually leads both some thugs and mobsters to the inn for the contest, as well as a group of high school teens who want to win the prize money to help pay for their school’s prom.
“So during the impersonation contest, the lights somehow go out and one of the Elvises gets killed,” Collins said.
A second Elvis is killed later in the play, and throughout the chaos Sheriff Betty (Susan McRaney) investigates the two deaths. Fortune teller Madame Laski (Tahira Harris) predicts the death of Elvis, Collins said.
“She has been predicting from the beginning that Elvis is going to die ... and actually two do,” said Collins, adding that the play wraps up with a mystery Elvis who “saves the day.”
Leach said the play is appropriate for all ages.
“I really want to challenge people to get involved in live theater,” she said. “This one is really great … has a lot of Elvis songs, comedy and action.”
The show opens Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 2:30 p.m. and Nov. 16 through 19 at 8 p.m. The cost for general admission is $16. Seniors, students and active military are $14, with identification required. For more information or tickets, call 478-929-4579.