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Cirque all shook up over Elvis songs

Shows will incorporate Presley's name, likeness, music

The King has a new court: Cirque du Soleil.

Elvis Presley Enterprises and the Canada-based Cirque will partner on a series of touring shows, fixed-location shows and a multimedia event that will get under way in 2008. But don’t sing “viva” for the time being: There are no plans for an Elvis extravaganza in Las Vegas.

Shows will incorporate the name, image, likeness and music of Presley and launch in Europe, Asia or both in 2008. That year, Cirque will present a touring show and one of the multimedia events dubbed “Elvis Experience.”

A year later, U.S. runs will begin. Between 2009 and 2015, Cirque and EPE will launch a Presley show annually; beginning in 2014, at least one Elvis Presley project will be opened every two years until 2021.

“Elvis Experiences” will incorporate music, memorabilia, audiovisual works and the life and times of the King. It will not feature live performers.

“The arena show will be designed to play venues like Staples Center for as many nights as is appropriate,” said Robert F.X. Sillerman, chairman-CEO of CKX, which owns 80% of Elvis Presley Enterprises. “There could be two or maybe three troupes traveling the globe.” He sees no reason why the arena show wouldn’t be able to tour 12 months a year; it could take two years for one show to hit all of Europe and Asia.

Sillerman likens the permanent shows to Cirque’s Las Vegas shows such as “Mystere” and “O.” “The two are very different, but obviously the Las Vegas-style show can’t play as many cities,” he said.

No budget has been set for any of the shows nor the entire operation. Sillerman noted, “Oftentimes, the most expensive part of a show is in the front end, finding characters and a style. That’s an expense we don’t have.”

Shows will be wall-to-wall Presley music, and all artistic decisions will be made by the creatives working for Cirque CEO Guy Laliberte.

Deal came together after nine months of discussions. Cirque will be creating its first historically based presentation with “Elvis Experience,” and it will premiere in June its first show using pre-existing popular music, “Love,” which employs the songs of the Beatles.

Cirque currently has on the road a music show, “Delirium,” and one of its standard productions, “Corteo.” “Saltimbanco” is playing South America; “Alegria” and “Dralion” are touring Europe.

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