Elvis to the Max

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Elvis to the Max

A cultural icon, widely known by the single name Elvis, who is often referred to as the “King of Rock and Roll” or simply “The King”. But now the memory and legend lives on in the guise of the world’s first and most-successful Elvis impersonator Max Pellicano, whose uncanny resemblance and equally chilling performance has mesmerised Australians over the last two decades. Is it any wonder some people still refuse to believe that Elvis Presley is dead!
Max Pellicano’s tribute Elvis To The Max goes beyond mere impersonation. His recreation of “The King” looks, moves, vocal style, impressions and humour is so accurate, it’s awe-inspiring. You need to sound like the real thing and Max Pellicano has worked hard at that. Not only is the voice important, it’s also knowing how to become the man himself on stage. The attitude shy, but confident, Max Pellicano mimics, in a rich Mississippi drawl that is typically Elvis.
There are lots of Elvis impersonators around, but Max Pellicano is considered as the best. Critics have described him as ‘Elvis ‘resurrected” and ‘reincarnated’. People just “Can’t help falling in love” with Elvis to the Max. In addition, the costumes worn by Max Pellicano are exact replicas made by Elvis’ personal tailor Bill Bellow. The shimmering encrusted “White Eagle” costume is a $10,000 recreation, identical the one worn by Elvis in 1972. Elvis To The Max production “The King In Concert” will be presented in three stages: “The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll” – The ’50s Masters; the ’68 Comeback Television Special that was regarded as a forerunner of the so-called “Unplugged” concept; and the music concert that was called “Aloha From Hawaii”.
Max Pellicano was born in Monte Carlo, of French and Italian parents. He spent most of his childhood in New York before moving to San Francisco at the age of 14. Today, he is based in Detroit. He has been a professional actor and entertainer since 1974 when he graduated from the California State University with a degree in Dramatic Arts. Max Pellicano first brought Elvis (as an actor) to life on stage in a production of Bye Bye Birdie.
“I was doing musicals and theatre and had to study Jailhouse Rock for my role as the Elvis-type character, Conrad Birdie. I studied the way he walked, the way he talked and the way he moved for months. I guess you could say I got into impersonating Elvis in a kind of round-about way” he said.
His performance led to an Elvis tribute show and the rest is history. “I learnt long ago that the fans don’t want the legend to die. They want to keep the memory going”, Max said. He still spends many hours in front of the television listening to records.
“I watch a lot of old live concerts and it’s actually kind of easy to study Elvis because I really enjoy watching his shows” says Max. Max stresses that he is an actor recreating a character and it is an illusion. Some see it differently though – one of Max’s strangest requests was when a couple in Los Angeles asked him to bless their child.
It should be noted there are more than 6,000 professional Elvis impersonators in the world and countless amateurs. “It’s hard to copy the original, but what we try and do is recreate the Elvis concert and give people a chance to see what it might have been like to see Elvis perform live”. Max Pellicano has appeared in feature films, notably “De Vinci’s War”, “The Gangster Chronicles” and “Sharon The Portrait Of A Mistress”. He has performed with The Jordanaires, JD Sumner & The Stamps, the late George Burns, Dion , Helen Reddy, Little Anthony & The Imperials, Dolly Parton, The Coasters, Del Shannon, The Shirelles, Don Rickles and the late Davy Jones (The Monkees fame).
When & Where: Capital Theatre, Bendigo – September 11, Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne – September 12 & GPAC, Geelong – September 13