Elvis’ two-room house birthplace shows off $4.3M expansion

Published 7:05 am Friday, August 10, 2012

TUPELO (AP) — The Elvis Presley Birthplace in Tupelo has opened up a $4.3 million expansion to the two-room house where “the king” was born, including a 75-seat outdoor amphitheater and a 120-seat theater with crushed purple velvet drapes and purple seats.

“Elvis played here first” bragged the marquee over the new theater, which is part of a building that also includes display space, an exhibit hall, a green room for entertainers and offices.

Elvis, born Jan. 8, 1935, lived in Tupelo for 13 years. Then Vernon and Gladys Presley moved to Memphis, where Elvis Presley got his first recording contract in 1954, a year after graduating from high school.

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The museum planned free Friday and Saturday showings of “Viva Las Vegas” and “Jailhouse Rock” in the theater, which also is designed for live performances, the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal (http://bit.ly/O7iYOV) reported.

“This was five years coming,” executive director Dick Guyton said during the opening Thursday as part of the annual Elvis Fan Day.

Guyton said he chose purple because that’s the royal color.

The site includes Elvis’ childhood home, the museum, a memorial chapel and a church.

Currently, Elvis tribute artist performances are not permitted on the grounds, but Guyton hinted that the Elvis Presley Memorial Foundation board may allow some flexibility.