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Elvis musical ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ coming to Chicago this summer

Written by
Kris Vire

Heartbreak Hotel, a new jukebox musical chronicling the early years of Elvis Presley’s career, will play a 10-week run at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place this summer, producers announced this morning.

The new show comes from Floyd Mutrux, the co-writer of Million Dollar Quartet, the musical inspired by the night Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins played a few songs together at Sun Studios in Memphis. Million Dollar Quartet ran for seven years at Chicago’s Apollo Theater after premiering as a commercial rental at the Goodman Theatre in 2008; the Chicago production also spawned a national tour that eventually led to a Tony-nominated Broadway run and a Las Vegas staging. Mutrux and his Heartbreak Hotel co-producers are billing Elvis’s origin story as a prequel to MDQ.

The show also has the imprimatur of Elvis Presley Enterprises, the licensor of the Elvis name and brand. Corey Salter, an executive with Authentic Brands Group, which owns and manages EPE, told last summer ahead of Heartbreak’s premiere at the Ogunquit Playhouse in Maine that Broadway is the ultimate goal. The Chicago production isn’t being explicitly pitched as a tryout for a Broadway go, though in this morning’s press release Salter is quoted referring to the show—a bit prematurely—as a “Broadway musical”: “This is the only Broadway musical that tells the remarkable story of Elvis’s rise to fame and we are thrilled with the momentum it has picked up.”

All Shook Up, a musical that fused songs from Presley’s catalog to a midcentury spin on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, had its pre-Broadway tryout here at the Cadillac Palace Theatre in the winter of 2004–2005; it was a flop in NYC, getting shut out of the nominations for the 2005 Tony Awards and closing a few months later, but has had an extended life in regional productions.

Heartbreak Hotel will run June 30 to September 9 at the Broadway Playhouse; no casting has been announced, but Eddie Clendening, who played Elvis in the original Chicago and Broadway casts of Million Dollar Quartet, reprised his role in the Ogunquit production.

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