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“Black Velvet”

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Wilson, Angela L. (American playwright, 1955-____), “Black Velvet,” a 35-minute comedy in English, set in a recording studio in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.A., Saturday morning, January 21, 1956,


  •  © 1997 by Angela L. Wilson;  •  script/rights available from Angela L. Wilson, P.O. Box 180552, Dallas, Texas 75218, U.S.A., e-mail angela.l.wilson@att.net, telephone (home) 214-388-9494, (work) 972-680-6060.  •  Cited by Angela L. Wilson, via ftp March 3, 2001; Wilson says,

  §  Dramatis Personae Carmen (f), 25, hyperactive, American Southern; Selman (f), 25, Elvis-like.  §  Synopsis “An aspiring young singer, Selman, must decide whether to become a movie star or a hillbilly gospel singer, when he encounters a nutty young woman, Carmen, who becomes his first crazed fan.

  §  Comment “This is a comedy about Elvis (here, Selman) and the fans he probably never wanted, about the idea that a woman has to fantasize about something she can’t have in order to feel ‘famous,’ and about fan clubs and crazy fans.  •  One scene, in a recording studio in Memphis, 1956. Selman should be able to strum a guitar and carry a tune. Carmen should be a horrible singer with a crazed, dazed Southern charm.  •  ‘Black Velvet’ premiered in Hannibal, Missouri, U.S.A. Then Southern Repertory, in New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A., staged a reading. The 11th Street Theatre Project, Dallas, Texas, U.S.A., produced it in 1997. The Dallas Theatre Critics Forum Award for Best New Play came next. Most recently, the Beardsley Living Theater produced ‘Black Velvet’ for the Festival of Independent Theatres; information on that production is available through bremic@swbell.net.  •  “Elvis Aaron Presley, in the humblest of circumstances, was born to Vernon and Gladys Presley in a two-room house in Tupelo, Mississippi on January 8, 1935. His twin brother, Jessie Garon, was stillborn, leaving Elvis to grow up as an only child. He and his parents moved to Memphis, Tennessee in 1948, and Elvis graduated from Humes High School there in 1953. Elvis’ musical influences were the pop and country music of the time, the gospel music he heard in church and at the all-night gospel sings he frequently attended, and the black R&B he absorbed on historic Beale Street as a Memphis teenager. In 1954, he began his singing career with the legendary Sun Records label in Memphis. In late 1955, his recording contract was sold to RCA Victor. By 1956, he was an international sensation. With a sound and style that uniquely combined his diverse musical influences and blurred and challenged the social and racial barriers of the time, he ushered in a whole new era of American music and popular culture. He starred in 33 successful films, made history with his television appearances and specials, and knew great acclaim through his many, often record-breaking, live concert performances on tour and in Las Vegas. Globally, he has sold over one billion records, more than any other artist. His American sales have earned him gold, platinum or multi-platinum awards for 131 different albums and singles, far more than any other artist. Among his many awards and accolades were 14 Grammy nominations (3 wins) from the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, which he received at age 36, and his being named One of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Nation for 1970 by the United States Jaycees. Without any of the special privileges his celebrity status might have afforded him, he honorably served his country in the U.S. Army. His talent, good looks, sensuality, charisma, and good humor endeared him to millions, as did the humility and human kindness he demonstrated throughout his life. Known the world over by his first name, he is regarded as one of the most important figures of twentieth century popular culture. Elvis died at his Memphis home, Graceland, on August 16, 1977.”—Keyword: Elvis Presley, http://navigation.helper.realnames.com/framer/1/0/default.asp?realname=Elvis+Presley&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Eelvis%2Dpresley%2Ecom&frameid=1&providerid=0&uid=30002809, accessed March 3, 2001.  •  See also Angela L. Wilson’s “Blood and Sleep,” a 70-minute bare-stage period drama in English, set April 4, 1865, 1m1f; and “George and Scheherazade, Sad, Sad, Sad,” a 45-minute comedy in English, set on a patio, Friday evening, dusk, today, 1m2f (+ 1m and 1f nonspeaking).

  §  Themes celebrity, cinema, Elvis (Elvis Presley, American icon, singer, actor, night club performer, January 8, 1935-August 16, 1977), fan club, fanatic, first encounter, gospel music, singing, stardom.

See also Angela L. Wilson’s
  • Blood and Sleep,” a 70-minute bare-stage period drama in English, set April 4, 1865, 1m1f
  • George and Scheherazade, Sad, Sad, Sad,” a 45-minute comedy in English, set on a backyard patio, suburbia, U.S.A., Friday evening, dusk, 1997, 1m2f (+ 1m and 1f nonspeaking)


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