Heartbreak Hotel On Stage
Elvis has left the building … but, don’t worry, he will be back in Elroy later in the month. Elvis, also known as impersonator Garry Wesley, entertained fans Saturday night at the Elroy Theatre. This free show was sponsored by NTM of Elroy.
Kari Preuss, owner of the theatre, said she is a big Elvis fan, so she was excited before the Saturday show. “I’ll be crying and singing and dancing,” she said. Preuss said NTM sponsored the event “as a kind thing to do for the community.”
Wesley said he started imitating his hero about 40 years ago on Halloween. “It was only supposed to be a one-night thing,” he said. When he and some friends (who had dressed as the Blues Brothers) were out on the town, a club owner in Milwaukee took notice.
According to Wesley, the club owner, who ran a famous performance space for acts like George Jones and Jerry Lee Lewis, was so impressed with Wesley, he hired him to perform and the rest is “Jailhouse Rock” history.
Wesley said some of his favorite Elvis songs are “Suspicious Minds,” “How Great Thou Art” and “Hurt,” but he is hesitant to pick one favorite of the approximately 600 songs he has in his arsenal.
He has performed throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, Chile and South America. Wesley has performed with Las Vegas Productions such as Legends in Concert and American Super Stars and has appeared in Rolling Stone magazine and several other media outlets.
His fans seem to appreciate not only the fact that he has the Elvis look and voice, but he throws in the famous gyrating moves the King of Rock and Roll was known for, too.
One of those appreciative fans, Vicki Hadley of Necedah, was front and center Saturday evening, as she is with most of his area shows. When asked how many times she has seen him, she replied “so many times, I can’t count.”
Hadley, who is such an Elvis fan, she has seen countless different impersonators, said Wesley was one of her favorites. “He is charismatic and good looking,” she said. Hadley said she believes Wesley has “Elvis values.”
“When you see people being more like Elvis, it’s a good thing,” she said.
Wesley plans on continuing to be “more like Elvis” for many years, but he remembers fondly the time he met the King. He was 16 years old and sitting at a stoplight, when a black limousine pulled up beside him. He said he was surprised when someone rolled down a window and a familiar voice said “hello.” Before driving away, Elvis gave him some sage advice. “He said, ‘you be careful, son,’” Wesley said.
Wesley will bring Elvis back, when he entertains with other musical artists for the Party in the Park at Elroy’s Schultz Park July 24. Call 1-800-331-1225 for ticket locations, prices and more information. And don’t forget to wear those ”Blue Suede Shoes.”