Elvis and Juliet
This modern take on Shakespeare's classic romance is a hunka hunka burning trash.
Here's the set-up: Elvis Aaron Lesley (Haskell King) has fallen in love with Juliet Jones (Lori Gardner), the daughter of an eminent Yale professor. Elvis and Juliet want to get married, but their families, in a clash of cultures, stand in the way of their happiness. This concept could have actually yielded some interesting results, but Willard and director Yvonne Conybeare have reached for the simplest and most obvious jokes -- which only become more lame and shrill as the play lumbers to its unconvincing climax.
The bulk of the mediocre first act takes place in Las Vegas when Juliet meets Elvis' family. Elvis' father, Arthur Lesley (Fred Willard) is a handsomely paid impersonator of The King. The Lesley family lives in an eight-bedroom house and they own plenty of luxury cars, from a Rolls Royce to a pink Cadillac. But the family is a cliché that makes the Clampett Family look like English royalty. Ignorant as well as pridefully sexist, Arthur is literally as narrow as the Las Vegas Strip. His wife Becky (Pamela Paul) is blissfully happy in their marriage, although their daughter, Lisa Marie (Christy McIntosh) is clearly not the family favorite. The future of the Lesley family is seen in Elvis, who Arthur intends to include in his act. The problem: Elvis wants to be an economist.
There are some funny lines tossed here and there, but most of the comedy comes from Uncle Joey (David Rasche), a Vegas tribute artist specializing in Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra. The deliciously over-the-top Rasche is the only reason to see this show, while Willard, who should be getting laughs out of his Elvis persona, seems oddly hemmed in by his role.