Elvis Tribute Artists Radio

_________interview with Jeff Victor

This month’s live interview, conducted in March 2004, is with Jeff Victor, President and Chief Operating Officer of Legends in Concert/On Stage Entertainment Inc.

Jeff Victor and business partner, Tim Parrott (Chairman and CEO), joined Legends in Concert/On Stage Entertainment 4 years ago. They had previously worked together in the casino/gaming industry. Jeff’s area of expertise was in the entertainment division and he was well familiar with the Atlantic City, Reno, Las Vegas, and Mississippi markets. Over the past few years, the new team has improved the systems that operate the company and are now working on the equipment in theatres, the costuming, etc. Describing himself as primarily a businessman, Jeff also works very closely with his production department.

Legends in Concert has 4 permanent, year round venues. The Las Vegas venue (Imperial Palace) has been in operation for 20 years, Atlantic City for 12 years, Myrtle Beach for 10 years, and Branson for 9 years. Legends is also involved with a variety of “limited engagement” shows in casinos (example: the Muckleshoot Casino in Washington State), amusement parks (Paramount Parks), and even overseas (Universal Studios in Japan).

There has been a boom in the tribute artist industry in recent years (numbers of tribute artists and tribute artist productions) which has also meant more competition and the need to have a competitive edge, whereas, prior to that, Legends operated with very little competition.

Click Here to hear Joanna’s interview with Jeff Victor.
Click Here to download.

A larger number of tribute artists also means that there is more screening and developing of new talent and tribute acts. Jeff says that Legends does accept promo packs (in fact, they receive about 8 a day) and the production department does look at all of them. When searching for new talent, they also do their own searches to “find out who is out there.” In addition, he says that each operator of the 4 permanent Legends venues is very skilled at looking for talent and that they have frequent meetings via phone and in person. Discussions about talent take place all the time. As he says, “the acts are the most important asset we have.”

When asked about Elvis tribute artists, Jeff says that the “Elvis” position is the hardest and most important one to fill in their typical 6-act lineup and they look for someone who is “on top of their game”–someone who captures the essence of Elvis Presley, who has very good energy, moves well, sounds good, and captures the look.

Breaking this down further, Jeff says that by “look” he doesn’t mean an ETA has to be a “clone” but does need to capture the look through both costuming and genetics. “Good moves” mean that the ETA has done his homework and practiced. For “sound,” he suggests vocal lessons..and says that many times he sees tribute artists who just haven’t taken the time to invest much in themselves..often, they will go on to other ventures, make an effort to improve themselves, and come back several years later with much more to offer. Jeff says it’s hard to compete in the “major leagues” such as Legends where the artists need to be at the top of their game, and he encourages artists to work on their craft, and to realize that if they aren’t accepted the first time around, it doesn’t mean they can’t try again later.

When discussing “who performs where,” Jeff describes how the market differs during different seasons at some venues, and how that affects the act selection. For example, the venues in Branson and Myrtle Beach see a lot of bus tours in the spring and fall, with perhaps an older customer base, whereas in the summer there are more family-based younger tourists on vacation.....so they might choose a Nat King Cole, a Frank Sinatra, or a Barbra Streisand tribute artist for the fall months in those venues (as an example) and select a more “radio-based” act that would appeal to the younger crowd in the summer months. He says there is more flexibility with the acts chosen in places such as Atlantic City or Las Vegas where the seasonal trends aren’t as pronounced.

As far as expansion of venues, Jeff states that the company was $20 million in debt when he and his partner took over and a lot of restructuring was needed. Over the past 3 years of “turning around,” they have become debt free and profitable.... and are now seriously focused on new acts, new venues, and expansion.

When asked if they have considered producing “Elvis only” shows, Jeff replied that Legends currently has an agreement with the Elvis estate to use “Elvis” only in the current format...as part of several acts...and at this point they haven’t pursued changing this.

And, finally, for those who wish to send in demo or promo packs, Jeff advises that they be sent to the production department -- not to him directly -- and that mailing the packs serves the process better than using email.

Mailing address to send promo packs to:

Legends in Concert
Production Department
3333 Orville Wright Court
Las Vegas, Nevada 89119
USA

You can hear Jeff's complete answers and comments in this live interview with Joanna Johnson. Many thanks to Jeff Victor, President of Legends in Concert, for this informative and helpful interview.



Live interview: Joanna Johnson
Foreword: Carol Hunter

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