HomeOpportunity Village and The Elvis Connection

Opportunity Village and The Elvis Connection

Published On: January 16, 2024Categories: About Opportunity Village
group of people dressed in white suits on stage with their backs towards the audience with a neon sign spelling 'elvis' in the background

Las Vegas Elvis impersonators are a big part of the fun of Las Vegas culture, and Opportunity Village is no exception. Elvis Presley had a challenging, transformative, and ultimately iconic relationship with Las Vegas that has since weaved its way into the very fabric of what makes the city what it is today. And being a Las Vegas born organization with deep roots in the community, of course, Opportunity Village has its own Elvis connection.

Elvis’ and Las Vegas

Elvis’s Las Vegas debut was at the New Frontier Hotel and Casino shortly after his No. 1 single, “Heartbreak Hotel.”

Accustomed to crooners like Freddy Martin and Frank Sinatra, Elvis was initially met with a lukewarm reception from Vegas audiences. Critics at the two-week string of shows compared the experience to “bringing a jug of corn liquor to a champagne party.”

Undeterred, Elvis vowed to return, expressing his fondness and love for the city in an interview with the Memphis Press-Scimitar, saying: “Man, I really like Vegas. I’m going back there the first chance I get.”

Vegas remained a favorite city for Elvis, as shown in his movie “Viva Las Vegas” and his marriage to Priscilla Presley at the Aladdin Hotel in 1967. Then, in 1969, Vegas welcomed Elvis back with a four-week engagement at the International Hotel. The show drew 101,500 attendees. Elvis then sold out over 600 performances at the venue. Elvis has been an iconic part of Las Vegas history with Elvis-themed ceremonies, Elvis-themed experiences, and Elvis impersonators along the strip.

Opportunity Village’s tie to Elvis goes even deeper than our own group of Las Vegas Elvis impersonators. It was during the shows at The International where the Elvis-Opportunity Village connection began. Beginning in 1970 in Phoenix, Arizona, Elvis began the practice of giving away his scarves to an audience member at each of his shows. This is a tradition that followed Elvis to Las Vegas, where he gave away scarves at each performance of his Las Vegas residencies at The International.

two images: one of colorful scarves hung in a store, the second of a framed picture of a blue scarf with a picture of Elivs Presley next to it along with a typed letter

Elvis and his manager Tom Parker were big supporters of Opportunity Village. Elvis and his team loved Opportunity Village’s work so much that he wanted them to make all of his scarves. They hired OV artists to design and manufacture scarves for all of Elvis’ Las Vegas performances throughout the 1970s, allowing Opportunity Village artists to cement themselves into the Elvis and Las Vegas lore. It was win-win since Elvis constantly needed new scarves made, so Opportunity Village’s creators were busy.

Want to own a piece of Elvis history? OV artists still create and offer a variety of hand-painted silk scarves like those provided to Elvis during his residency at The International, giving fans of The King a way to obtain a piece of this history themselves. Find your favorites from the colorful selection available on our website.

OV Elvi: Opportunity Village’s Elvis Impersonators

The OV Elvi performers can be found performing throughout the Las Vegas area and are available for hired performances.

Their first performance, “Blue Suede Shoes,” was choreographed by an Opportunity Village dance mentor as part of the nonprofit’s fine and performing arts program. The performance was a way for Opportunity Village to pay tribute to the King and his lasting legacy. The troupe performed for Elvis’ birthday at the Opportunity Village Engelstad Campus, drawing media attention from KNTV 13, KVVU Fox 5, and KLAS 8 News. With performances lasting 15 minutes, the OV Elvi not only pay tribute to Elvis’ Las Vegas legacy but also represents the partnership between Elvis and Opportunity Village (OV).

The OV Elvi troupe is composed of 6 to 8 performers, led by Max, who has been portraying Elvis for eight years. OV Elvi have been a vibrant presence in the community, supporting several events. They perform at corporate functions, parades, and OV events like the Las Vegas Great Santa Run, the annual OVation spring variety show, and other hired gigs throughout Las Vegas.

The OV Elvi celebrate Elvis’ memory through their dynamic performances and community engagement. They perform a long list of songs, including:

  • Viva Las Vegas
  • Blue Suede Shoes
  • JailHouse Rock
  • Burning Love
  • Hound Dog
  • Teddy Bear
  • Suspicious Minds
  • Winter Wonderland
  • Santa Claus Is Back In Town
  • Here Comes Santa Claus
  • Santa Bring My Baby Back (To Me)
  • Rock-A-Hula Baby
  • Can’t Help Falling In Love
  • 2001 A Space Odyssey Intro
  • See See Rider
  • All Shook Up
  • Rip It Up
  • Bossa Nova Baby
  • Heartbreak Hotel
  • Surrender
  • Too Much

The OV Elvi are available for both private performances and public ticketed events. To book the OV Elvi, interested parties can contact Daryll Borges, Opportunity Village’s Fine and Performing Arts Supervisor, at 702-880-4013, borgesd@opportunityvillage.org, or through our online contact form.

elvis impersonator dressed in white on stage at a performancegroup of four elvis impersonators on stage singing and dancing

 

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Opportunity village was founded in 1954 by seven families who were determined to give their children with disabilities the best lives possible. Now, Opportunity Village is one of the most recognized and respected organizations of its type in the US. They are Nevada’s largest employer of people with disabilities and serve over 3,000 individuals annually, providing vocational training, employment, habilitation and social recreation programs and services that improve their lives.

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