BLT plans to welcome the king

Published 11:30 am Thursday, January 7, 2016

Elvis is coming to Brookhaven to celebrate his 81st birthday at Haven Theatre.

Wesson performer Ricky Beall will sing as Elvis, and Brookhaven Little Theatre will also show “Elvis: That’s the Way It Is,” a 1970 documentary, Friday. Doors open at 6 p.m. and tickets are $5.

The idea to hold the Elvis event came from Troy Douglas and Tony Norton. The conversation began as they were having lunch recently.

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“We were just talking about different things that we would like to see come into town,” Douglas said. “And he said, ‘You know man, you could do like an old Elvis show or something like that.’ And I said, ‘Well, his birthday’s in January.’ … It just started off with two guys eating lunch. We’re going to see if we can’t make an annual thing out of it.”

Douglas joined Brookhaven Little Theatre on Sept. 10 on the last day of auditions for “It’s a Wonderful Life” where he got a part playing Mr. Welch.

“Everybody jokes and says the theater will just kind of pull you in and won’t let go,” Douglas said. “It’s true, because the people that work at the theater, they’re excited for new ideas. They’re excited for new people. Greg Russell, James Minter Emily and Trey Waterloo have all just been very accepting and enjoy new ideas. It’s something new and different to do in Brookhaven. We’re all looking for something to help set Brookhaven apart from everybody else.”

Beall discovered the event through social media, and asked BLT who would be playing Elvis.

“I messaged him back and said that we’re not doing a play,” Douglas said. “Everybody associates Little Theatre with plays, but since Halloween it’s started doing movie productions. I told him that we’re just showing a movie. He said, ‘Well, I am an Elvis tribute artist.’ I said, ‘That would be awesome. I’d love to have you.’”

Elvis was born in Tupelo in 1935. He started out as a gospel singer, but became the King of Rock and Roll. Douglas said he wanted to keep that musical legacy going in Mississippi.

“Brookhaven, being what it is — the local music scene kicking off like it is. They just showed the Brookstock documentary from Shaw (Furlow) and his group, so we’re just trying to keep things real.”