Driftwood Players

"A Tribute To Elvis" July 2007

Performed by Jason Whited

Jason Whited

Visit Jason's Web Site: www.jasonwhited.net





From the South Beach Bulletin Thursday July 5, 2007

Talented local artist stays true to the 'King' in one-man-show
By Barb Aue

      Starting tomorrow evening, Jason Whited will present his one-man-show, 'A Tribute to Elvis', each Friday and Saturday evening during the month of July at Aberdeen's Driftwood Playhouse. Featuring top forty hits by cultural icon, Elvis Presley, Whited's characterization, costuming, and way with lyrics will have Elvis fans reliving the glory days when Presley earned the title 'King of Rock 'N Roll. He's got the Elvis pelvis swivel down to perfection, curls his lip in just the right way, and has the signature shoulder shrug pat.

      As if the look and the music aren't enough, Whited also peppers his show with Elvis facts, trivia, and biographical information that gives audience members a fuller understanding of the cultural icon who changed the American music scene forever. "I want them to concentrate on me, on my performance, but at the same time, I want them to remember that this is a tribute show to honor a great artist," Whited said.
      His Friday and Saturday night performances are each unique, featuring different songs and biographical notes. That means there's a great opportunity for double the enjoyment for diehard Elvis fans that are fortunate enough to take in both a Friday and Saturday show.
Versatile performer
      A versatile performer, Whited is highly respected not only as a singer but also as an actor in amateur theatre in both Grays Harbor and Pacific County. Whited has performed a wide range of characters in many productions with the Driftwood, Grayland and especially the Willapa Players over the past 15 years.
Lip sync beginning
      A Raymond native and 1992 graduate of Raymond High School, Jason says he "...grew up on Elvis and music from the Grand Ole' Opry. It's just always been part of my life."
      Whited started singing seriously and performing his Elvis material at private parties after high school graduation. Up until then, most of his 'performing' was in front of the mirror in his bedroom or among a select group of friends who shared his love of the 'King'.
      In the early 1990s, he twice entered lip-sync contests at the Pacific County Fair, miming Elvis, of course. He placed the first time around and took home the winner's prize the next year. Responding to the enthusiastic response of the judges and audiences in those competitions, Whited set out to learn how to effectively sing Presley songs on his own.
      Since then, he has performed at many festivals, community events, and charity fundraisers in both Pacific and Grays Harbor counties, developing a very loyal following. Locally, he's headlined at the Shoalwater Bay Casino. He also won the Elvis look-alike competition at the Emerald Queen Casino in 2004.
Replica costuming
      Whited has continued to hone his Elvis tribute material, not only by improving his vocal interpretations and onstage persona but also moving from a ready-made wardrobe consisting of combinations of whatever he could find in department stores to his current custom-designed costumes that are historically accurate from the fabrics used to the beading and glitter. Just one jumpsuit with a cape and belt can cost as much as $1,500. But Whited says that while replica costuming is an integral part of the whole package, "It's important to remember, that I don't go up on a stage and pretend to be Elvis. My whole act is a tribute to the artist, the point is to honor his memory and the incredible impact he had on American culture," he says.
      That includes staying true to the different musical interpretation of songs Elvis performed during his 23-year career prior to his death in 1977. "If you watch and listen to his performances of the same songs a decade or 20 years apart, you'll notice that there are definite changes in the way Elvis interpreted the lyrics and costumed for his shows. It's important to stay true to that for historical accuracy," Whited said.
Family matters
      Jason, his wife Desaraye, and their daughter Eden, 6, make their home in Aberdeen, Desaraye is a veterinary technician at Companion Animal Hospital, while Jason commutes to Raymond where he works as a waiter at Slater's Diner, Jason's cousin, Tammy, and her husband David own the 50s-theme eatery. Prior to opening the restaurant in December 1999, the Slaters operated the Pizza Loft in downtown Raymond, where Jason also worked.
      Whited has also traveled to Memphis three times in order to enter the "Images of the king" World championship Tournament. He made it into the finals in 2004 and 2006, competing against hundreds of other Elvis impersonators. Jason will miss the trip this year however, because he and Desaraye are expecting their second child, another girl, in July, the same month as the tournament.
      "Its really too bad I can't go this time around. This year is the 30th anniversary of Elvis' death, and it's going to be a spectacular event this time around but that's O.K. I'm excited about our own major happing right here at home," he said.
      The curtain goes up at 7:30 p.m. at the Driftwood Playhouse every Friday and Saturday this month. Tickets are $10 and are available at City Drug, Top Food & Drug and Captain's Cove Aberdeen, Harbor Drug Hoquiam, Valu-Drug Montesano and Our Place Ocean Shores, as well as at the door on a space available basis.

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