If he were alive, Elvis Presley would be celebrating his 80th birthday Thursday.
In honor of this occasion, Central Kentucky Elvis impersonator Bill Kelly will be performing an Elvis Tribute Show at The Leeds Theater in Winchester.
Kelly has impersonated Elvis for 35 years, performing throughout the country. Thursday night he will be performing Elvis music from the '50s and '60s.
So, why is he still performing as Elvis after all these years?
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"He was an amazing talent that just stirs memories in people, even those who never saw him," Kelly said. "He had 'it.' I wish I had words to explain what that 'it' was and I wish I had it."
Kelly will be joined by Ricky Howsare and Todd Bodenheimer. Howsare, though not an Elvis impersonator, studied vocal performance under Daniel Weeks at the University of Louisville. Bodenheimer, from LaGrange, is an Elvis tribute artist who has won several Elvis impersonation contests.
Other Elvis shows
■ Million Dollar Quartet, the Tony award-winning Broadway musical about a legendary recording session featuring Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins, will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 21 at the EKU Center for the Arts, Richmond. Tickets are: $40.50-$82.50. Visit EKUcenter.com for more information.
■ Elvis Lives! featuring finalists from the Elvis Presley Enterprises Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 29 at the Lexington Opera House, 401 W. Short St. Tickets are $30-$65. Call 1-800-745-3000 or visit Lexingtonoperahouse.com.
What's happening in Tupelo?
A city-wide celebration will take place Thursday in Elvis' birthplace, culminating with an Elvis Presley-themed concert from the North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra and singer/songwriter Richard Marx.
During the day there will be a sing-along version of the film Jailhouse Rock at Link Centre and a theatrical production, aptly named Graceland. The celebration continues on Friday with the opening of an exhibit at the Convention and Visitors Bureau, topped off with free banana pudding.
"Elvis' first appearance was on WELO on Mississippi Slim's radio show, broadcast from the courthouse," said Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director Neal McCoy. "So, we're going to do a Mississippi Slim exhibit here in the lobby, with the local food trucks here and free banana pudding."
Also, the second phase of a $6 million expansion and renovation project is set to begin at the Elvis Presley Birthplace soon. Three years ago, the state legislature awarded more than $2 million for the first phase of the project. Phase two will add two Elvis statues to an overlook with a memorial wall and pavilion. Phase three will rework the landscaping and walkways around the lake on the property.
Presley was born in Tupelo on Jan. 8, 1935, and moved to Memphis at age 13. He was 42 when he died Aug. 16, 1977, in Memphis.