Elvis Fan Kombou Rocks Jailhouse London LaunchDate: 9 January 2004
Producers of Jailhouse Rock unveiled their 21st-century Elvis today (9 January 2004). At a London launch event held at the Hard Rock Café, former north London hairdresser Mario Kombou (pictured) – a self-confessed Elvis fan who will star as Vince Everett in the new stage adaptation of the famous Elvis film, which opens at the West End’s Piccadilly Theatre on 19 April 2004, following previews from 26 March (See News, 2 Dec 2003) - gyrated his way through Presley classics “Burning Love” and “Suspicious Minds”.
Kombou was joined at the event by Elvis’ cousin and commemorative author Donna Presley Early who predicted “huge huge success” for this “amazing project” (See The Goss, 5 Jan 2004). Producers have emphasised that Jailhouse Rock is not about Elvis, but rather about the birth of rock ‘n’ roll. Presley Early agreed, while pointing out today that: “When you tell the story of the birth of rock ‘n’ roll, that is synonymous with the name Elvis Presley.”
Released in 1957, a year after his Love Me Tender screen debut, the film of Jailhouse Rock helped shoot a young Elvis to superstar status. In it, Presley played Vince, a troubled young man who, while serving a year in prison, discovers gospel and R&B. Once out, Vince decides to reinvent himself as a rock 'n' roll singer and, while fame comes quickly, he nearly loses his friends and his voice along the way.
Jailhouse Rock is the latest collaboration from Alan Janes and Rob Bettinson, best known for Buddy Holly bio-musical Buddy, which finished a record-breaking 12 years in the West End in March 2002. In 2002, the pair premiered the shorter-lived soul musical 125th Street at the West End's Shaftesbury Theatre, where it closed last January.
Kombou is joined in the cast by Lisa Peace (as Peggy van Aulden), Roger Alborough (Hawk Houghton) and Gilz Terara (Quickly Robinson). The production is designed by Adrian Rees, with musical supervision by David Mackay and choreography by Drew Anthony.
Prior to its West End opening, Jailhouse Rock visits Plymouth’s Theatre Royal (20 February to 6 March 2004) and Manchester’s Palace Theatre (9 to 20 March 2004).
- by Terri Paddock