Steve Michaels is an international award-winning Elvis Presley tribute artist and actor from Ontario Canada. From a very young age, he was mesmerised by Presley’s performances and quickly turned his passion into his dream career – creating, writing, directing, producing and starring in shows based around the American superstar.
It’s been 50 years since Elvis Presley’s televised special aired on NBC Television, which later came to be known as his ’68 Comeback Special. To celebrate this, British West End theatre and film producer Bill Kenwright presents This Is Elvis, with Steve in the coveted role of Elvis. This electrifying musical recreates all the drama leading up to Elvis’ ’68 Comeback as well as staging the monumental concert. It then proceeds with the King to his Vegas debut, featuring an impressive line-up of Elvis’s greatest hits.
1. The new show documents Elvis’ comeback to show business in 1968. What was it about him that made people hungry for more during this time?
Elvis was totally out of the public’s eye performance wise from pretty much 1958, when he was drafted into the US Army. Upon his return from Germany in 1960 he immediately began his Hollywood acting career and did not perform during this time. Music and the music scene had completely changed during the 60’s and by 1968 Elvis, except for releasing album soundtracks had no presence on the music charts. It was time that Elvis had his come back.
2. What’s been the largest challenge during the preparation for this show?
Making sure to keep the persona of Elvis Presley real and not a character of the person he portrayed in his movies.
3. This is Elvis features so many of Elvis’ greatest hits, which one is your favourite to perform?
I have to say Suspicious Minds. It has a driving beat and the performance in re-creating what he did is a lot of fun.
4. You career as a performer and actor is quite unique in that you have played the same character your whole life. How do you keep role interesting and fresh?
I am a huge fan of Elvis and quite often I find myself listening and watching him daily, and I always find something that I didn’t hear or see the day before. Elvis was a man who wore different hats in every facet of his career and seemingly always reinvented himself during the 1950’s, 1960’s, the ’68 Comeback, the 1969 Vegas opening, through to the 70’s concert years.
5. You’ve won multiple awards for your impersonation work. What was the most difficult Elvis trait to perfect.
The most difficult traits to perfect as Elvis were actually the smallest of details. The way he would fidget with his ring on his baby finger or wipe the sweat from his brow.
And just for fun…
6. Have you ever used your resemblance to Elvis to get yourself out of trouble?
I’ve never really been in the position of getting myself into a lot of trouble, but now that you pose the question I may just keep that in mind for the future!
7. There are thought be around 80,000 Elvis Impersonation Artists worldwide, tell us a funny story about one that you have encountered?
The other tribute artists that I have met over my career have all been great. I always say “We are all the kings men, we just work and interpret it differently”. I know it’s not exactly the answer you’re looking for, but having said that it’s always a barrel of fun.
8. Elvis rarely travelled outside of the US, but your work has taken you all over the over the world. Is there anywhere that you’ve been really overwhelmed by the fans response to you?
Elvis fans, are Elvis fans, when you portray the man accurately the fans around the world appreciate your performance. But I do have to say last nights performance at The Playhouse right here in Edinburgh was incredible and it was incredible to be playing to a theatre full of crazy Elvis fans exactly like myself.
9. Elvis was once threatened with arrest for gyrating after the first of several shows in Jacksonville, Florida. Has the iconic move ever got you in any kind of trouble?
No, somethings go without saying and Elvis I believe is the only man who has gotten in trouble with his own iconic moves. He paved the way for everyone else!
10. If you were allowed just one Q&A question with Elvis, what would it be?
Don’t you think it’s time to come out of hiding – we miss you!!!! I’m joking, I probably do the exact opposite it wouldn’t be a question but I would say thank you, and hope to give him a firm handshake, oh heck make that a hug, after all this time, he feels like a family member I’ve never met!!! That’s only if I could get close enough and not be jumped by his Memphis Mafia! Ha!
This is Elvis is currently playing at The Edinburgh Playhouse until Saturday 17th February 2018. Buy tickets here.
Find out more about Steve Michael’s here on his Facebook page.