Elvis Has Returned to the Building

New exhibit showcases Elvis’ life, from his childhood to his Vegas days

The Westgate has been the Las Vegas Hotel, Las Vegas Hilton and the Whyte House in Diamonds Are Forever. But it began as the International, both center stage and home base for Elvis Presley. Now the Westgate seeks to recapture the King’s castle by partnering with Graceland for a new Elvis-themed exhibit, show and wedding chapel.

The 28,000-square-foot exhibit will “tell the story and show different parts of Elvis’ illustrious life,” according to Joel Weinshanker, managing partner of Graceland Holdings LLC. It will trace his childhood, rise to fame, Hollywood years and, naturally, Vegas triumphs. Memorabilia will include Elvis’ high school yearbook and his Harley, as well as a selection of those legendary jumpsuits, from the “Black Butterfly” to the “Purple Owl” to the “American Eagle.” To keep the exhibit fresh, items will be rotated with other artifacts from the Graceland archives.

But what’s a showman without a show? The renamed and renovated Elvis Presley International Showroom will host a series of Elvis-themed live shows, beginning with “The Elvis Experience,” in which (the very convincing) Martin Fontaine will re-enact one of Presley’s Vegas shows with two-dozen musicians and a choir. And because what’s Vegas without a wedding, the Westgate is also opening Elvis Presley’s Graceland Wedding Chapel, “where people can be joined together in an atmosphere of friendship and southern hospitality unique to Graceland,” according to Weinshanker. The exhibit, show and chapel all open April 23.