Max Pellicano and Don’t Be Cruel – The Life & Times of the King Benefit Show, May 2

Elvis may have left the planet, but he hasn’t left the stage, at least not at Andiamo Novi Theatre.  Max Pellicano’s extraordinary Don’t Be Cruel – The Life & Times of the King, in which the Harrison Township actor traces the highs and lows of Elvis Presley’s career in song and spoken word.

As Pellicano—while portraying Elvis—jokes during the show, “One out of every three children born in America will grow up to be… an Elvis impersonator.” 

Ironically, Max himself does not fit this description.  A trained actor with a drama degree from California State University, Pellicano considers Elvis a role, albeit one that he has played successfully for nearly thirty years. 

The culmination of those years is Don’t Be Cruel – The Life & Times of the King, a moving and exhilarating tribute to Elvis Presley’s life, but also, to the nation whose attitudes and fashions he helped shape.  The multi-media theatrical event offers wry wit, unwavering honesty and above all, the uncanny talent of Max Pellicano.

On Sunday, May 2, thanks to Andiamo Novi Theater, Pellicano performed a benefit performance Don’t Be Cruel in support of Detroit: Our Vietnam Generation.  Pellicano himself is featured in that documentary, not for his stage career, but because his elder brother Jean Pierre Pellicano was killed in action in Vietnam in 1968.  Jean Pierre’s favorite musician was Elvis, and much of Max’s tribute performances are as much a tribute to Jean Pierre as they are to Elvis.

The benefit show was an incredible success, with a guest list that included Senator John Papageorge and Bob Gillette of American House. 



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