The comedian, singing impressionist and award-winning entertainer has traveled from Vegas to A.C. for a gig at the Tropicana.
Versatile entertainer Stephen Sorrentino has been doing impressions since the age of five, is a multi-instrumentalist, pursued a career as a rock singer and has toured and performed for Legends in Concert with his Elton John tribute.
All of the skills he honed in those stops along the way come together in his engaging musical comedy variety show Stephen Sorrentino: Voices in the Head. Backed by a four-piece band, eight lovely showgirl dancers and with a Las Vegas-style production, this brisk show unleashes a delightfully wacky, hilarious vibe one minute (Pee Wee Herman singing Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love”) and goes for pathos the next, with a tribute to the history of Atlantic City.
The man behind all the laughter, fun and good music is back east after years of presenting his show in Las Vegas, where his many accolades included being the International Guild of Celebrity Impersonators and Tribute Acts’ (IGCTA) Male Impressionist of the Year for three years in a row. This is the second time he has brought his show to the Tropicana, having performed there in 2006.
He talked to Atlantic City Weekly recently about his show, a return to the East Coast for the native of Long Island, whose cousin is a singer from New Jersey you might know named Bruce Springsteen.
How did you first get into singing impressions? You mentioned that you wanted to be a rock singer at one time.
I was a rock singer. And because you have to sing all different types of music and sound like the artist, it was a natural [progression]. I was a big fan of Frank Gorshin and Rich Little back in the ’70s. And now I live next door to Rich Little in Las Vegas. I wanted to be an impressionist and a comedian. I grew up watching entertainers who did everything in the spectrum to make people happy. People that are just singers, I think that is a bore. If you can sing then you can play an instrument, then you can dance, you can do comedy.”
You do so many characters at breakneck speed, how do you keep it all straight?
My brain goes real fast. I’m always one step ahead of myself.
Some shows in town recently have felt like they were on a budget, but your show really does have a Vegas feel, with a live band and excellent dancers. Why was that important to you?
It’s because I give a damn about the audience. If they are going to give me an hour and 15 minutes of their time, the least I can do is give them the absolute best show, which includes [a big] production. The money doesn’t come from the casino; it comes out of my pocket. Tony Rodio (Tropicana’s CEO) called me and asked me, ‘Can you do this?’ for an extended run. ‘We’ll give you three months, can you give us a show?’ I said, ‘Absolutely.’
Your Atlantic City tribute was obviously created specifically for this version of Voices in My Head. What was the inspiration for it and what made you think it would work in the context of your show?
I don’t care if it works. I like it. When I want to do something new in the show, I say, ‘Will it make me happy?’ Then I do it, and what happens, happens. Usually I’m right. I think people forget how wonderful Atlantic City is and was. Some people discount it as the paperback Las Vegas and it’s not. This is where Lewis and Martin started, literally at the 500 Club. I respect that. This was the mecca; this was the playground of the world. Don’t you think it’s due 10 minutes of my show? I think so. There is a spirit that lives in a city. If you listen, it suddenly starts whispering to you, and that’s what Atlantic City has always done for me.
Do you have a favorite routine of the many that you do?
“I think when this club is done, people are going to walk in and there’s going to be a wow factor,” Rodio says. “The club is going to be on a much higher level than it was down at Resorts.”
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