On April 23, Priscilla Presley will appear in Las Vegas to unveil the new Elvis Presley attractions at the Westgate Resort and Casino. It was announced on April 6 that Priscilla will participate in the first wedding to take place at the Elvis Presley’s Graceland Wedding Chapel, as well as take part in the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new permanent Graceland exhibition, the first ever outside of Memphis.
Priscilla, who has been involved in choosing the decor of the new wedding chapel, will serve as a Matron of Honor at the first wedding to take place there. The bride and groom will be chosen from a nationwide contest launched today.
The wedding ceremony will be broadcast live on The Today Show on April 23. Unlike other Elvis-themed wedding chapels in Las Vegas, this one will not feature any Elvis impersonators. Priscilla married Elvis in a small ceremony at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas back on May 1, 1967.
A new Elvis show will premiere that night at the hotel called the “Elvis Experience.” Priscilla makes the distinction that the star of the show is an actor not an Elvis impersonator.
“He’s not trying to be Elvis Presley,” she said of performer Martin Fontaine, who will perform with a 24-piece band reminiscent of Elvis’ Vegas shows.
The newly renamed Elvis Presley Theater is currently being restored to bring back the look and feel of the historic showroom where Elvis performed an unprecedented run of 837 sold-out shows over a 7-year period.
Bringing Elvis back to Las Vegas was made possible by Westgate Resorts CEO, David Siegel and Joel Weinshanker, Managing Partner of Graceland Holdings LLC. Siegel, who has a surprising connection to Elvis and Colonel Parker, purchased the hotel in 2014, after the hotel went through a series of owners and name changes from The International to the Las Vegas Hilton to the Las Vegas Hotel and now the Westgate Las Vegas.
In February, Siegel and Weinshanker announced plans to bring Elvis “back in the building” he made famous. This includes the new exhibit, “Graceland Presents ELVIS: The Exhibition,” which will be displayed in the 28,000-square-foot space formerly occupied by “Star Trek: The Experience.”
The exhibit will feature hundreds of artifacts from the Graceland Archives spanning Presley’s life and career. Videos will enhance the exhibit experience including a 26-minute retrospective film at the end of the exhibit featuring Elvis’ greatest performances.
The artifacts to be displayed include the 24-foot sign promoting Presley’s first appearance in Vegas at the New Frontier Hotel in April 1956, his 1957 Harley Davidson motorcycle, iconic jumpsuits Elvis wore at his Las Vegas performances and the legendary tablecloth which Colonel Parker used in lieu of paper to renegotiate Presley’s contract for his International Hotel appearances. Several items will be rotated on a regular basis with other artifacts in the Graceland Archives.
Following the disappointing two-year run at the Aria hotel of the Cirque du Soleil “Viva Elvis” show which closed in 2012, the new Elvis attractions at the Westgate hopefully will give Presley’s legacy the respect it deserves in Las Vegas.
“Elvis had a lot of dignity. Elvis had a lot of class,” Priscilla said. “He was a beautiful specimen of a man.”