This Is Elvis is the show that charts the rebirth of Elvis Presley as he bounces out of film and back on to the stage.

The career of Elvis Presley certainly had its ups and downs, and even that may be understating it.

The legendary musician is widely regarded at the King of Rock and Roll and for good reason.

He is the best-selling solo act in the history of recorded music, spanning genres, continents and ages groups during his short but illustrious 24-year career.

It wasn’t just the stage where Elvis thrived, he also had an impressive big screen résumé, starring in an incredible 33 films or TV shows between 1956 and 1972.

This foray into film is the background of the script of This Is Elvis.

Despite the fact that he burst on to the music scene in 1956 and rose fast through the charts, there was to be a period of the King’s career where he would focus his attention on his on-screen duties.

Elvis failed to release any studio albums between 1962 and 1968, the period where his film career really started to blossom.

However, in 1968 Elvis returned to music with a bang in the form of a stunning NBC television special.

It was the King returning to claim his music throne and from there his focus seemed to be far more of creating music, touring and performing.

Of course all was not rosy in the life of the King.

Struggles with drugs and resulting ill-health would cause his untimely death in August of 1977.

Such was his influence on the music world that he is still heralded as one of the world’s greatest performers.

His music has spanned a host of look-a-likes, attempting to emulate the magic that he brought to the stage.

Now, This Is Elvis is looking at the historic rebirth of Elvis and will also offer up a unique tribute concert as part of the show.

Canadian showman Steve Michaels is the man tasked with taking up to mantle of The King of Rock and Roll himself.

Jamie Walker speaks to him to discuss his lifelong love of Elvis, the show that is hoping to recreate his magic and how he prepares to sport the role of The King.

The show is charting Elvis and his rise back to fame. How did you come about the role?

I had worked for Bill Kenwright previously and when he was casting the role of Elvis he had reached out to my manager. I flew in from where I live which is just outside of Toronto, Canada, and it looks like I was what Bill was looking for.

What was that audition like?

I was asked to sing Elvis and act some moments from the script.

What was your song of choice for the audition?

Bill had heard me sing previously so I didn’t have to do a singing audition, I was there primarily for the acting audition.

Tell us a bit about the show.

The show is a snapshot into the life of Elvis at 33, it’s set around 1968. He was doing a number of movies in the 1960s which removed him from the music scene because he was contracted to do those movies. He was singing sound tracks but they weren’t really doing anything for him, and then of course the British invasion was taking North America by storm. Elvis needed to do something that would recharge his career. That’s where this idea of presenting Elvis in a TV show on NBC, called Elvis, which historically renamed the ’68 comeback special.

After the success of that show Elvis was ready to tour and he loved being in front of a live audience. He wanted to go on tour with his friends from the 50s but The Colonel [Tom Parker, Elvis’s manager] had the idea to put him on in Vegas instead. When Elvis first went to Vegas in the 50s he didn’t do that great and it didn’t sit well with him because it was a failure, of sorts. He ended up going back and that is This Is Elvis in a nutshell.

It starts with moments of the historic 1968 comeback special, it moves into the narrative of the happiness and turmoil he was facing, his relationships. Then the second act is a full-blown Elvis concert with all the hits. it means the audience gets to experience what it was like to be part of the special and then the story and then we’re all transported to the Hilton in Vegas for the second act.

This isn’t your first time playing Elvis, what drew you to him and his music?

I think just being a fan is what drew me to him before I was drawn down this rabbit hole of experiencing this crazy world of being Elvis. It all started from being a fan and now with this show that just adds another layer to this profession I’ve been a part of. It’s been a long and great journey.

How do you prepare yourself for being Elvis?

It’s all about just talking to his friends and his people and going to this whole encyclopaedia of Elvis that I have from being a fan. I could draw on all the facts and become the most accurate representation of Elvis I could. Bill wanted Elvis on stage, but when he wasn’t he wanted the Elvis that was not in front of the cameras, when he was just being a man. That’s what we try to bring to life, a real accurate portrayal.

What’s your favourite song to perform in the show?

Suspicious minds for sure. It’s like a locomotive, once it starts it’s hard hitting.

What would you say to anyone who isn’t going to this show to get them down?

It’s something that is completely different, that nobody has seen before. I can say that, as an Elvis fan, this story has not been told before. You don’t have to be an Elvis fan to enjoy this musical. It’s the greatest rock and roll hits of all time and most importantly you get something new.

To call it a tribute would undersell it. It’s a musical, it hasn’t been done before and it hasn’t been done like this.