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Michael Viljac performs as Elvis Presley.

Shake, Rattle & Roll with Elvis at ARTworks

Put on your Blue Suede Shoes or your high-heel sneakers and head on down to ARTworks for some good rockin’ on Saturday night with Elvis. Yes, that’s right, THE Elvis will be making a one night only stop in Beaufort.

I know you thought he had gone to have “a Little Talk with Jesus”, but calm your Suspicious Minds and let talented tribute artist, Michael Viljac convince you otherwise.

Michael Viljac performs as Elvis Presley.
Michael Viljac performs as Elvis Presley.

Like Elvis, Michael Viljac is a handsome dark-haired southerner who credits his hip shaking moves to karate training. However, unlike Elvis, he never aspired to be a performer and still maintains a day job at Coastal Pressure, a pressure washing equipment business in Mount Pleasant, SC. According to Viljac, he was a Johhny Cash fan growing up and only sang his first Elvis song at a karaoke bar in 1993 after a friend begged him to. A year or so later, after seeing the show of a professional Elvis impersonator with his wife, she suggested that he try it out. So, in 1996, he put together his first show. Over time, his act has evolved from singing along to pre-recorded music, to performing with a full band. Although the Elvis show is a popular request, Viljac and his band also perform beach and shag music shows, as well as shows that incorporate music by country starts and Vegas regulars like George Jones, Conway Twitty, Engelbert Humperdinck, Frank Sinatra and Tom Jones.

Although Elvis Aaron Presley died on August 16, 1977, at age 42, his spotlight has never really dimmed and there are estimated to be upwards of 85,000 Elvis impersonators performing across the globe today. In his lifetime, the composer Leonard Bernstein called Elvis “the single, most influential cultural force of the 20th century.”

The performer was seen as more than a singer, he represented a whole generation of young Americans who were addicted to their record players and seeking to rebel against their parents and societal norms. From his early leather jacket and love em’ and leave ‘em movie roles, to his over-the-top 70s jumpsuits, Elvis was seen as living life on his own terms even if that meant excess. Perhaps that yearning for freedom is what still keeps Elvis’ appeal strong among modern day fans. It’s no surprise that those tied down by jobs, mortgages, and all of the other demands of daily life Can’t Help Falling In Love with this icon.

Viljac says that when he’s dressed the part, people act as though he really is Elvis. They want to have their picture taken with him, have him sign autographs and give them a kiss on the cheek. He’s even had a few requests to perform weddings. He says, “It’s an honor, whether it’s me or Elvis that they’re responding to”.

If you go: The show starts at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 18. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online from the ARTworks website at www.beaufortcountyarts.com or by calling 843-379-2787. ARTworks is located in the Beaufort Town Center shopping plaza, 2127 Boundary Street in Beaufort.

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