Dwight Icenhower, an internationally renowned Elvis Presley tribute artist, will perform at Stuart’s Opera House in Nelsonville on Saturday at 7:30 p.m., with doors opening at 6:30 p.m.
Icenhower is five time world champion Elvis Presley tribute artist and travels the world performing in places like Japan, Europe, and all around the U.S. He has performed with many people who performed with the King of Rock n’ Roll himself, including The Jordanaires, The Sweet Inspirations and many more.
The performer comes to Stuart’s yearly and has deep roots in the area, as he grew up just up the road in Pomeroy. His performance focuses on the earlier parts of Elvis’ career, ranging from the 50s to the early 70s.
“I got involved with the Elvis world through my mother, and she introduced me to music with Elvis when I was like six years old and it just made an impact on me,” Icenhower said.
He performed as Elvis for the first time in high school, and his career continued from there.
“I was a sophomore in high school when we decided to do a variety show when it was the off-season for marching band,” Icenhower said. So the band director knew I was a big Elvis fan and he asked me to perform as Elvis … I had no idea what I was doing.”
After that first performance, Icenhower’s high school’s varsity football coach asked if he would perform at his wedding for his future mother-in-law.
“Now I do anywhere from 150 to 200 shows a year all over the world, performing all this music,” Icenhower said.
Icenhower takes his performances very seriously, reviewing hours of video footage to emulate the king himself.
“It's just a lot of perfecting my performance and going back and watching the actual concert footage to get as close as possible representation on stage to what he gave,” Icenhower said. “So it's just a lot of doing what you've known for the past 25 years and still learning by watching the man himself on video series.”
For Icenhower, singing was always the easiest part of his tribute, as sounding like Elvis came very naturally to him. He works incredibly hard with his performance and his appearance to present an accurate picture, even wearing outfits made by the designers of Elvis’ own outfits.
Icenhower said he struggles with people’s misperception of what a tribute artist really does.
“I think a lot of people ... they have an Elvis impersonator in their mind and it's someone who's walking around like Elvis 24/7 and you can’t have a normal conversation with this person because they're going to be talking like Elvis all the time,” Icenhower said. “When I'm off stage, I'm just Dwight.”
Icenhower has many fans, for both his character and his performance.
Chloe Musick, marketing and public relations director at Stuart’s Opera House, described Dwight as a nice, genuine guy off and on stage to all of his fans.
As a tribute artist, Icenhower said his fans enjoy him because they enjoyed Elvis first.
“They're Elvis fans first, and then they're my fans second, which is how it should be.” Icenhower said, “They loved me because they loved Elvis first and they appreciate what I do.”
Icenhower attended OU for a short time before he went full time into his tribute career, and at one point played trumpet in the Marching 110. Many OU students are interested in the performance.
“I don't know much about Elvis, but ... it's pretty cool,” Maddie Herdman, a sophomore studying social work, said.
Stuart’s Opera House is a non-profit organization who puts profits from their shows back into the community to support the arts, Musick said.