By Joy Juedes - The San Bernardino County Sun
Elvis' life is depicted 2,000 miles from Graceland this summer.
The Redlands Theatre Festival is presenting the Inland Empire premiere of "All the King's Women," scenes portraying the life of Elvis Presley through the
eyes of average women.

"It's presentational kind of theater," said festival founder Cliff Cabanilla. "It takes vignettes from different experiences these women have had. There are no
sets and sparse costumes", director Katherine Thomerson said. "It's simply the actors pulling this off, making the audience believe they're coming from
1942 to the present time," said Thomerson, who is making her directorial debut with the festival. "And they do."

Acts and characters include a saleswoman in Tupelo, Miss., who sells Elvis his first guitar, a woman who runs into Elvis in a supermarket, secretaries at the
White House, Cadillac saleswomen, a Graceland security guard and a tourist at Elvis' Memphis home.

The play borders on biographical, Thomerson said. Elvis music plays during the transitions between each scene, and a video plays behind the stage.

"These are just average people in average places telling the story about Elvis' life as if they were actually there," said Thomerson, who designed the

Cast member Susan Adams said she found out a lot about the life of the King. "I think we all learned about what Elvis was like, and not just singing - he
cared a lot about people," she said.

She said playwright Luigi Jannuzzi called and congratulated the cast on their creativity and wished them luck. Last year, she ran into Cabanilla at Cal State
San Bernardino, where she is a professor and coordinator of liberal studies.

"He said, `How would you like to do something for RTF?"' she said. "I didn't think he would have me direct this artsy, edgy play about Elvis' life."

It is her first time directing adults; she ran Shakespeare for Children for 19 years before ending it two years ago. She also founded and owned the Frugal
Frigate children's bookstore in downtown Redlands for 16 years.

"I always enjoyed going to (Redlands Theatre Festival) productions, so I'm thrilled with the way it turned out," she said. The cast is also new to that type of
production, she said. "They were worried because I was coming in, they didn't know me," Thomerson said. "(But) opening night was so successful."

Some audience members will be surprised with what happens, she said. "It's very funny, very informational and very heart-rending," she said.
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