Kraig Parker brings Elvis to BR

Photo provided by ElvisLives.com -- Elvis impersonator Kraig Parker brings his Christmas production to Baton Rouge at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9, in the LSU Union Theater.
Photo provided by ElvisLives.com -- Elvis impersonator Kraig Parker brings his Christmas production to Baton Rouge at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9, in the LSU Union Theater.

Sometimes women scream.

They can’t help themselves; Elvis may have died in 1977, but Kraig Parker is everything they remember.

And for some who may be too young to remember, he’s everything they’ve seen in movies and YouTube videos.

He’s Elvis. Or as close to Elvis Presley as anyone has come in a long time.

Ask Presley’s tour manager Charles Stone. Here’s a guy who worked with the one true King of Rock ’n’ Roll, and even he couldn’t deny that Parker had something special.

“Charles Stone’s wife saw Kraig perform, and she told her husband that he had to help Kraig,” Steve Love said. “Charles finally saw Kraig perform, and he was impressed. This is a guy who really knew Elvis, who was his manager. And he knew that Kraig was special. So, he began managing Kraig.”

Love is the founder and chief executive officer of Love Productions, Inc., which produces Parker’s show. Suffice it to say, Love, too, immediately knew Parker had something more than other Elvis impersonators.

And there’s really no getting around the fact that there are a lot of people impersonating Presley on stages throughout the worlds. There’s even an annual contest for Elvis impersonators in Las Vegas.

But none are like Parker. How does one explain his act?

Well, reviewers have written how watching Parker is like witnessing a Presley performance. He stages not one but three productions, all of them backed by a live band.

And he’ll be bringing one of those shows, “Kraig Parker’s World Premier Tribute to Elvis — Christmas Edition” to the LSU Union Theater on Sunday, Dec. 9. The show starts at 4:30 p.m. and will feature songs from Elvis’ Christmas album, along with a few standard hits and favorites from his Las Vegas show.

And don’t be surprised if some women in the audience can’t contain themselves.

“There are some who get excited and scream,” Parker said. “Elvis is in demand, and if you do a good job, people respond.”

Notice how Parker refers to Elvis in the third person. He never mixes his identity with the king’s, and he’s quick to credit Presley for this opportunity to perform.

But when Parker is at his home in the Fort Worth-Dallas area in Texas, he works on his own music, something he was doing long before he began performing the tribute concerts.

“I’m always working on my own music,” Parker said.

“But Elvis takes up a lot of time.”

Now, don’t misunderstand. Parker isn’t complaining.

“Elvis has been good to me,” he said. “My voice fits, and my personality fits, and I don’t feel like I have to act on stage. It’s been a good fit for me.”

This may be the biggest difference between Parker and the other impersonators. Well, there’s a better word for what Parker does. He’s a tribute artist.

And it’s true. He doesn’t really act on or off stage.

He remembers his high school days, where people often told him he resembled Elvis.

“I’ve been an Elvis fan since I was a kid,” Parker said. “My mom used to have a half dozen 45s, and she used to play them. That kind of inspired me to want to be a rock star one day.”

But he didn’t step into the role until agreeing to perform at an international oil company party.

Parker was a graphic artist at the company, and his boss was a big Elvis fan. Parker, by the way, has maintained his graphic design skills since hitting the tour circuit.

“I design all of my own publicity,” he said. “It comes in handy.”

Back to the company party, Parker’s take on Elvis generated a good response.

“It just took off,” he said. “I started entering contests and winning money. It was a side job for me for awhile, but after five years, my boss said, ‘You’re going to have to choose between Elvis and this job.’ I’d been spending a lot of time away doing Elvis.”