North Babylon native Jim Borstelmann plays nine roles in the new Off-Broadway show “Attack of the Elvis Impersonators.” Not one of them is The King, although that might be a good thing. While juggling the parts — with quick wardrobe changes involving everything from a cheerleading uniform to a dog costume — “you don’t even get to . . . coif your hair,” says the 55-year-old veteran Broadway actor.
Playing the “Anti-Christ” in the campy musical comedy is nearest to Borstelmann’s heart, he says. Director Don Stephenson cast Borstelmann after working together on the six-year run of “The Producers” (Borstelmann was later in the movie). Among his other roles in the production, Borstelmann was the understudy for Roger De Bris, whom Max Bialystock describes in the show as the worst director who ever lived. The Anti-Christ “is very similar where he tries hard — he can’t be scary. He can’t be mean. In the end, he has a true heart,” says Borstelmann, who lives in Manhattan.
The somewhat convoluted but very funny New York premiere at The Lion Theatre at Theatre Row might leave those who worship at the Elvis altar howling — and not only from laughter.
A burnt-out, metal head, Slash-lookalike named Drac Frenzie (Eric Sciotto) is chugging his second bottle of Jack Daniel’s when he flashes back to high school — Presley appeared at his bedside on their shared birthday and gave the teen a locket. “Wear this and one day you will, too, be The King,” Frenzie recalls his idol’s ghost telling him as he is reunited with the locket. Childhood buddy Matt Shadow (Curtis Wiley), a chart-topping R&B singer, somehow found it in a pawnshop. This leads Frenzie to an unlikely epiphany: Becoming an Elvis impersonator is his destiny.
After cutting his long wild hair and losing his skintight leggings, a well-coiffed and suited-up Frenzie goes on a pilgrimage to Graceland to see Presley’s grave, where he is possessed by the rocker’s spirit. He soon starts a new religion: Hound Dog, whose followers yelp for peace, love, brotherhood and a drug-free world wearing (particularly frightening and freaky looking) Elvis masks, even winning over the Anti-Christ.
“He wants Drac Frenzie to continue to play evil and scary and hateful music that the devil was supposed to love and worship,” Borstelmann says, “but he’s won over with the beauty of Elvis.”
WHAT “Attack of the Elvis Impersonators”
WHEN | WHERE Opens at 8 p.m. June 15, with a limited run through Sept. 24, at The Lion Theatre at Theatre Row, 410 W. 42nd St., Manhattan
INFO $79 and $99; 212-239-6200, telecharge.com