NEW YORK — When it comes to Broadway, how well do they do diversity?
Not so much says Actors Equity — They find women and people of color are underrepresented and underpaid compared to their Caucasian counterparts.
But one off-Broadway production is bucking that trend.
The show “The King The Final Hours” has a cast and production staff of minorities.
They see it as a truly New York way to re-imagine the end of days for Elvis.
They were one of the most famous couples ever.
Elvis Presley and his young bride Priscilla.
When they met, she was just 14.
The play looks at how his life ended and finds themes we can all explore in our lives.
Elvis was the quintessential white sex symbol of the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s. He was married to Priscilla and was at one time in love with fellow film star Ann Margaret.
It was always Hollywood’s perfect white love story.
Now this production is bringing the king to life through a true New York multi-ethnic lens.
Mark Macias, writer and producer of the show sat down with us.
“It wasn’t really setting out like let’s find a black person, a white person, a Mexican, a Puerto Rican. It was more of like who are the best players for this play? It turned into a diverse cast from behind the scene to as well as in front of the screen.”
Macias, a Mexican American, grew up idolizing the king.
“I have loved Elvis Presley since I was a little boy.”
Macias also wanted to explore the Ann Margaret love story, and touch a larger human theme asking the question, “Who do I love and what is going to make you happy in those final hours?”
Elvis’ love interests and conquests were numerous, and legendary according to Priscilla.
That sex appeal smolders brightly even on this small off-Broadway stage.
This king played by a true Memphis boy, moving to New York to pursue his acting dream. Actor Brett Michael Bullard elaborates.
“You just watch his movies or interviews and he’s really a charismatic guy.”
Colleen Wright, playing Ann Margaret, now the same age as when the Swedish starlet fell in love with the king says of the role, “He is very much out there very she is very strong and specific and she knows what she wants.”
The cast and crew even gave PIX11’s Kirstin Cole a chance to explore, in the role of a 1960’s reporter catching them in a passionate moment.
My line? “You two are adorable together! My sources are right!”
With the rich diversity of this cast and crew, the audience now gets a chance to imagine the story of Elvis anew.
Chelsea Davis, self-described as bi-racial, plays the part of Priscilla’s sister.
She says of the multi-ethnic cast that it gives a chance “to train the public eye to not so much pigeon-hole roles and beauty and elevate the standard to include literally everyone.”
The show has a limited run that ends on Sunday. They are already searching for a bigger stage, which could be coming soon. Some interest already showing up!
They’re also giving a special offer for PIX11 viewers. Get $10 off tickets with the code: PIX11
For tickets and more information, click here.