The Entertaining Art World Of Steve Connolly And Family
Artist Steve Connolly
Steve is a world class artist. His paintings and sculptures are in many public and private collections.
So how does a guy with a business restoring art and painting church ceilings become one of the most electrifying entertainers in Las Vegas and the most sought after and accomplished Elvis stylist perhaps in the country? Equally fascinating is the question of how a guy steeped in the musical style of Led Zeppelin, who actually fronted a successful East Coast heavy metal band, has gone on to write music which captures all of the melodic integrity of the Americana movement while injecting a traditionalist country sound with rockabilly pizazz? Anyone who has ever seen Steve scribble a sketch on a scarf or bought one of his original paintings or a print or seen one of his interpretive Elvis portraits can easily see him painting the basilica of east coast churches. But if you were one of the lucky ones to catch Steve’s signature Elvis Entertainment show in Bally’s Jubilee theatre in 1999/2000 (“Love Him Tender: Spirit of the King”) and his transformation of the Blue Note Cabaret into a celebration of Elvis Presley’s style and music (in the naughty musical comedy “Tease”) or if you just recently saw him over the last six and a half years at the Four Queens Hotel & Casino main room you could still be asking how a guy from back East decides to impersonate the greatest performer of our time.
Steve might say something like this. Elvis Presley was a performer whose music can still top the charts today in country, pop, and in Europe. A man with more #1 hits than the Beatles in England. If my mission is to entertain audiences as completely as possible, why not recreate a complete experience of Elvis Presley’s performance so that audiences experience not just the music of Elvis Presley but grasp the real “Spirit of the King” as if he were performing today RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW! To accomplish this goal Steve decided to distinguish himself from all of the Elvis impersonators and establish himself as an impressionist. Doing an impressionAnd not an impersonation, What's the difference you ask? Steve’s response: “First and foremost I am an artist, actor, musician and entertainer and I like to think on this stage, I can let my light shine through, so that my take and my personality has a chance to briefly coexist along side Elvis for moments, like looking at each other in a mirror. I’ve read so many books watched every movie, documentary, immersing myself fully into who Elvis is and who he was. In my performance I am clearly Elvis (for the most part) but sections of my show’s presentation are me and it is up to the audience to decide who's who, where, when and why. We can be distinct characters when we are separated but we can also be combined and Intertwined. As an artist I recognize that I can bring one thing to the table that no other impersonator can… and that one thing is me, Steve Connolly aka Spirit of the King!” Steve did master all of the physical nuances, moves, and conversational tones of the man from Memphis. Next, he studied the entire body of Elvis’s music, the novelty of some of his arrangements, and even his sense of humor and abilities as a band leader in live performances. Finally, Steve took his considerable skills as a composer, guitar, drummer, bass player and vocal stylist and set about to fully perform rather than slavishly mimic or depict Elvis’s signature performances. Without ignoring music from any of Elvis’s periods, Steve decided to PERFORM with all of the athleticism and sexual confrontation of Elvis at his most vital (think ‘68 comeback special – black leather). The response to this style of Elvis Entertainment in Las Vegas has been exceptional.Over 10,000 performances in Las Vegas Casinos, Steve has appeared at the Four Queens (6 1/2 yrs), Show Bus of Stars The Rolling Stage Coach (5 yrs), The Fitzgeralds (5 yrs), MGM Grand (4 yrs), The Paris Queen Production “We Will Rock You” (3 yrs), Aladdin (1 yr), Riviera (1/2 yr), Bally’s (1/2 yr), multiple months runs at several other Vegas casinos. Steve’s list of Private limited and corporate engagements at virtually every Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas : Caesar’s, Belagio, Flamingo, Venetian, Wynn, Golden Nugget, Desert Inn, Plaza, Imperial Palace, M Resort, Palazzo, Cosmopolitan, Mandarin Oriental, Aria, Harrahs, Treasure Island, The New Frontier, Mirage, Mandalay Bay, Luxor, Excalibur, New York New York, Monte Carlo, The Stardust, Stratosphere, Circus Circus, Sahara, Hard Rock, The Las Vegas Hilton, The Palms, Tropicana, Embassy, California, Sun Coast, Green Valley Ranch, Gold Coast, Sams Town, The Orleans, Rampart Casino,The Horseshoe, Lady Luck, Las Vegas Convention Center and that is just Las Vegas – also many many more locations around the world: Russia, China, Korea, Mexico, Australia, etc.
Press and endorsements: Steve remains the only entertainer depicting Elvis to be chosen by the Las Vegas Review Journal Staff – Best Elvis in Las Vegas two years in a row. Making a mark in The Bally’s show (“Love Him Tender” 1999/2000) (a major LV Strip Casino, Jubilee Theatre Showroom) met with rave reviews from local papers and the L.A. Times. These reviewers praised Steve ingenuity for including sections where Steve imagines Elvis performing today’s music. “Steve Connolly is a born showman”, Mike Weatherford - Review Journal and Long time Las Vegas entertainment writer Joe Delaney noted not only how Steve was capable of fully entertaining the audience as a humorist but also again recognized him as “perhaps the best of the Elvis depicters”. Fans of Steve’s version of Elvis Entertainment include well known celebrities: Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, Kenny Logins, Dennis Miller, as well as President Clinton and President Trump, 2 presidents 2 different party’s who both agree “Steve is the best”! A most notable endorsement from Bobby Morris Elvis’s Conductor at The International calls Steve “The #1 Elvis on the planet”. All have publicly recognized Steve as the best in Elvis Entertainment. Finally, in 1999 Steve won a prestigious contest with the largest cash prize (at the time) in Las Vegas history recognizing him as the Best Elvis in Vegas.Note: Steve kept half his winnings and divided the other half among the six finalists thanking them for also keeping Elvis’s memory alive.
Today Steve is creating a whole catalog of new paintings devoting much of his artistic talent to interpreting Elvis in the visual medium of fine art painting and Steve continues performing for public & private corporate events nationally and internationally recreating his signature show: “Spirit of the King”. Unfortunately, Elvis Presley is no longer available, but thankfully Steve Connolly is still ”alive and kicking”. “The hardest working king in show biz!”
The best of both worlds!