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Fourteen local musicians Thursday night opened a series of concerts marking the 60th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s three performances at the Polk Theatre.

The musicians gave their personal interpretations of Elvis songs on the same stage where Presley sang on Aug. 6, 1956, but with a twist. They’re facing inward toward an audience of about 100 seated at small tables at the rear of the stage. The audience faces the auditorium, giving them the view that Elvis saw when he performed here.

Ticket demand for the sold-out shows was strong enough that the Polk Theatre staff is making plans for a show facing out toward the auditorium sometime in September so more people can be seated. They said they’ll announce a date and time when plans are finalized.

Featured musicians included Aaron Marsh, Kimberly Milton, Jason “Cornbread” Baker, Eric Collins, Sumner Curtis, Raney Wade and Shane Lawlor. Other performers included Josh Dampier, Andrew Eason, Evan Eliason, Jason Jolin, Joey Chambers and Tosh Sergeant.

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Barry Friedman founded in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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