The King & I is an evening-length work incorporating 3 trained dancers and 5 Elvis Impersonators (yes, five!). Loosely structured on Elvis’ last concert, the dance utilizes text, props, Elvis-inspired moves, and even some singing, to ask the question: Just what does Elvis Presley have to do with you and me, anyway?
For Choreographer Allison Orr, this dance sprang from a moment of unexpected emotional connection: “When I visited Graceland many years ago I found myself crying at the end of tour. Ever since then, I knew I had to make a dance about the King.”
In August of ’07, Forklift marked the 30th anniversary of Elvis’ death with a revised and expanded version of The King & I. Playing to nearly sold-out audiences and selling over 700 tickets, critics, dance lovers, and Elvis fanatics just couldn’t get enough of The King & I.
“From the very first number, the choreography impresses, “ writes Iris Brooks from The Austin Chronicle. She continues, “Using many of Elvis’ signature moves and gestures, Orr creates a vocabulary that is at once familiar, infectious, and almost miraculously underivative.” She concludes, “The King & I is to be commended for making accessible an art form that too often runs to the esoteric and by doing so with total integrity. That Allison Orr could accomplish this with a subject as burdened by cliché as Elvis Presley is testament to the boundless potential of a thoughtful and original mind.”
The King & I received wide media attention, including cover stories in both The Austin Chronicle and The Austin American Statesman’s XL, a write-up in Texas Monthly, and a feature on KUT/NPR radio. The King & I was supported by the City of Austin Cultural Arts Program, The Texas Commission of the Arts, and the following sponsors: Tottenham Family Fund, Green Mango Real Estate, and Woodeye Construction and Design.