No need to ever head to Graceland again. Elvis returns to the building at the new “Graceland Presents Elvis: The Exhibition — The Show — The Experience,” coming to Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino in April.
Back when the King reigned over Las Vegas, he performed 837 sold-out shows at the International Hotel, which became the Las Vegas Hilton and is now the Westgate. The new permanent exhibit brings hundreds of Presley memories, some leaving Graceland in Memphis, Tenn., for the first time.
The 28,000-square-foot exhibit includes shows that pay tribute to the musician, who is known for his mesmerizing hips and hits such as “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Jailhouse Rock,” “Suspicious Minds” and the city’s anthem “Viva Las Vegas.”
Look for artifacts that span Presley’s lifetime, including some of his high school yearbooks, vehicles including a 1957 Harley-Davidson motorcycle and a 1962 Lincoln Continental, items he wore on stage including jewelry and the first outfit he donned on stage at the International in 1969. Some of these wow-worthy pieces will rotate in and out with Graceland to keep fans coming back for more.
Woven in with the museum pieces, there will be a look back at his life, starting in Tupelo, Miss., that first recording session in Memphis, his rise to fame and Hollywood career, his life at Graceland and wrapping up with his seven years on the stage in Las Vegas. A 26-minute film looks back at some of his greatest performances.
Westgate renovated what’s now called the Elvis Presley International Showroom, where the King of Rock and Roll performed from 1969 through 1976. The resort brings actor Martin Fontaine in to replicate Presley’s performances in “The Elvis Experience,” complete with 24 musicians and an eight-person choir.
The exhibit also plans to include Elvis Presley’s Graceland Wedding Chapel for nuptials with the King.
Elvis’ ties to Las Vegas are strong. Back on July 31, 1969, nearly one out of two Vegas visitors saw one of his shows, which sold $43.7 million in tickets. The $17.50 ticket included steak or lobster, while the midnight show provided drinks. He even married Priscilla Anne Beaulieu at Milton Prell’s Aladdin Hotel, now Planet Hollywood Resort, in 1967.
Presley wasn’t always a star in Vegas. His first gig at age 21 at the Venus Room at the New Frontier hotel billed him as the Atomic Powered Singer. By 1956, he had gained a teen following, but the older crowds of Vegas at the time gave him a cool reception.
“Graceland Presents Elvis” debuts on April 23, with the exhibit open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets, on sale now, are $22. Tickets to “The Elvis Experience” start at $49.
Tickets: Graceland, (800) 238-2000