07/01/14 — Elvis coming back for one night to help United Way raise funds

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Elvis coming back for one night to help United Way raise funds

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on July 1, 2014 1:46 PM

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Elvis tribute artist Stephen Freeman will perform at the Paramount Theatre Aug. 22 to help raise money for the United Way of Wayne County.

Winston-Salem resident Stephen Freeman is bringing Elvis back to life for the people of Wayne County for one night in August.

The Elvis tribute artist is bringing his show to Goldsboro for the fourth time as part of the United Way of Wayne County campaign kickoff.

Freeman was a police officer and private investigator for eight years before becoming an Elvis tribute artist.

He will belt out some of the "King of Rock and Roll's" most popular hits Aug. 22 at the Paramount Theatre.

"It's a benefit for United Way," said community relations manager Catherine LeChot. "We've found that this is a real good opportunity to share what United Way is about with people who we might not ever get our message out to.

"Stephen Freeman has a great following, and they're coming for him. But we're also getting to get our little plug in about United Way. And coming that night is helping United Way. That's why we continue to have Stephen."

Mrs. LeChot said Wayne County residents seem to love Elvis and his music and everything about him. And they also love Freeman because he does such a good job bringing Elvis to life.

"We started having him come four years ago because we wanted to do something different at our kickoff," she said. "Elvis just gets us to a different crowd. And it's about getting across the work that United Way does."

Each year, Freeman changes his show, so even those who've gone to see him in the past will hear different songs this year.

"And if you haven't been before, you'll be shocked at how talented Stephen is in recreating Elvis Presley," Mrs. LeChot said. "If you close your eyes, you'd think you were listening to Elvis."

Freeman has competed in international competitions as Elvis. He has been named one of the top 10 Elvis tribute artists in the world at the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest presented by Elvis Presley Enterprises Inc.

"People bring him flowers when he does his show here," Mrs. LeChot said. "And aisle seats tend to go sooner than other seats because those people might have a chance to reach out and touch Elvis or hold his hand.

"He sings directly to some of the women in the audience and they just lost it. Two years ago, there was a lady who would not let go of his hand. You'll see the ladies throw things to him on stage. He also throws out scarves and other things. He really interacts with the audience."

The opening act for Freeman this year will be Wayne County's own Elvises -- Kirk Keller, Geoff Hulse, Wayne Alley and Julie Beck. They will do some Elvis songs and skits to get the show started.

VIP tickets are $35 and general reserved seats are $20.

"We've changed our VIP experience a little bit this year," Mrs. LeChot said. "We're having it backstage. Some people may never have been backstage so that's an added experience."

The event will be catered by Longhorn, and David Weil, president of the Paramount Theatre Foundation, will give a presentation about the history of the Paramount and will offer short tours of the theater.

"Having it backstage and offering a little historical background adds a new element to the VIP experience that we haven't had in the past," Mrs. LeChot said.

The VIP program starts at 6 p.m., doors open at 7 p.m., the opening act is at 7:30 p.m. and Elvis comes on stage at 8 p.m. for a two-hour show with a short intermission.

Tickets go on sale July 15 only at the Paramount Theatre.

United Way normally raises between $4,000 and $7,000 from the Elvis concert.

This year's campaign goal is $1,150,400, which will help 23,008 people in Wayne County.