The perfect choice to play Elvis in this show is tribute artist, Cody Ray Slaughter. Slaughter, now 25, has been performing as Elvis since he was a teenager and is regarded by fans and critics as one of the best Elvis tribute artists around, with some even calling him the ‘Prince of Rock and Roll.’
Cody recalled in a previous interview with the author how he first became interested in Elvis: “He was the first music person I think I ever knew about. I always thought his hair was unique and cool, and his look was just super-cool. I just wanted to look like that. I don’t remember a day when I didn’t know who he was… I started watching all his movies and I just got hooked on him.”
In 2011, Slaughter won the Ultimate Elvis Tribute contest at Graceland, then starred as Elvis in the touring production of the hit Broadway musical, Million Dollar Quartet, from 2011-2013. Since then, Cody has been the headliner at multiple Elvis festivals around the world.
One of the traits that sets Slaughter apart from the hundreds of other Elvis tribute artists is his attention to detail: “I would sit in my room every day and watch Elvis on Milton Berle and the Dorsey Brothers’ Stage Show and all that footage and the movies,” Slaughter remembered. “I would just pay attention to the little things, the little itty bitty things that I think at the time, people overlooked… I always thought the coolest thing about Elvis was the stuff that you don’t really see– his little eye movements, or his thumb.”
Slaughter got the thrill of a lifetime when he met Priscilla Presley backstage after the Million Dollar Quartet opening night in Hollywood in 2012. Priscilla liked the show so much she came back a second time with a close friend of hers and Elvis’, Jerry Schilling.
Cody modestly remarked: “Priscilla enjoyed the show. I won’t say what she said. Coming from me it would sound stupid. But she was very, very, very nice.”
The producer of A Tribute to Elvis ’56, Terri Futreal, says good Elvis tribute artists like Cody “have to be charismatic, they have to be humble, and I think they have to be talented, because I think Elvis was all three of those. And to do a heartfelt tribute to his legacy and his music, I think they have to have the same characteristics.”
“You can’t just watch something and try to recreate it,” Cody continued. “You have to understand why and where it’s coming from… When I was starting out I noticed that it’s not all about just jumping around and stuff like that like ‘hubba hubba’. It’s like James Dean, Marlon Brando, Tony Curtis, Dean Martin and all that mixed together and you get Elvis.”
In June, the Elvis ’56 show traveled to Lexington, NC where Elvis Presley performed on March 21, 1956. The meet and greet before the show was held in the same building where Presley’s YMCA concert was held.
“We got to come here to the YMCA where Elvis actually performed,” Slaughter told the local paper. ” I have been learning so much about his time here…Bringing Elvis ’56 back to Lexington has been something I couldn’t have dreamed of.”
For upcoming tour dates for Elvis ’56, visit http://www.elvis56tour.com
For more info on Cody Slaughter, visit http://www.codyrayslaughter.com