“We were put on this earth to entertain people!” Anthony Edwards exclaims.
Twins Anthony and Eddie Edwards, who spent some of their formative years in the Old Pueblo, will return next month for two shows at the Fox Tucson Theatre (Sunday, March 8 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.), featuring a multitude of uncanny celebrity musical impersonations. Their act, “Twintastic — 2 Brothers 100 Stars,” has been described by USA Today as “the most stunning range of impersonalities you will ever see.”
The Edwards twins were born in Burbank, Calif., and got their start in the entertainment business from their uncle, Jack Harrel, an NBC Studios screenwriter. They spent many hours after school and during the summer with writers and celebrities. Their family relocated to Tucson briefly during their early elementary school years, then returned to California. At age 15, they moved back to Tucson and attended Rincon High School, where they were heavily involved in drama, media, choir and the arts.
“Our principal, Pamela Trotter Cornell, was a major influence on us,” Edwards recalls, “and she made sure that our curriculum was structured in a way that we could take all the arts credits we needed to in order to enter the performing world well prepared. She believed in our talent.” Cornell currently serves as chief academic officer of Las Puertas Community School, a local charter school sponsored by StrengthBuilding Partners, an education nonprofit.
After high school, the Edwards twins performed at the University of Arizona Repertory Theatre with Jack Wagner, an actor made famous by his TV roles in “Melrose Place,” “The Bold and the Beautiful” and “General Hospital.” Afterwards, Eddie performed with the touring production of “La Cage aux Folles” and the Las Vegas show “An Evening at La Cage.” Anthony attended California Institute of the Arts, focusing on piano and singing, and then the San Diego Police Academy. Ready to go into law enforcement, Anthony was convinced by his brother, Eddie, and their mentor and American TV icon Carol Burnett, to perform together as celebrity impersonators.
The twins take their impersonations extremely seriously. “It takes about three years to study a celebrity,” explains Anthony. “The first year, all we study is the voice. Then, we start resourcing the arrangements, some of which are very expensive to reproduce like gowns and tuxedos. The third year, we perfect ‘the look,’ including dentures, wigs and prosthetics.” Both brothers are classically trained singers and musicians.
“The show is constantly changing,” says Anthony, “It depends on what we’re in the mood to do, and every single show is different.” Eddie’s favorite character to play is American musical icon Barbara Streisand, and Anthony’s is Italian operatic tenor Andrea Bocelli.
The highest praise the twins ever received for their impersonations was from Celine Dion. Anthony explains, “Just about every celebrity impersonation we do, we are endorsed by the celebrity. Celine Dion saw one of our clips on YouTube and declared herself to be ‘our number one biggest fan!’” Later, Eddie got to meet Dion after her Las Vegas show.
Anthony describes the brothers as “extremely conservative” in their Jewish practice. “What drives me is Old Testament theology,” he explains. “I take my relationship with Judaism seriously, and everything we do is embedded in Judaism.” The Edwards twins are especially thankful for their relationship with the Jewish community in Florida, where the show is in its 30th season. The twins perform 25-40 shows a year. “They’ve helped us evolve the show.”
Philanthropy is central to their Tucson show, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting the University of Arizona’s Cancer Center and the Las Puertas Community School.
“Tucson has no idea what’s coming,” Anthony chuckles. “It will literally amaze people!”
For tickets, call 547-3040 or visit www.foxtucson.com. The Fox Tucson Theatre is located at 17 W. Congress St.; box office hours are Tuesday-Friday 11 a.m.- 6 p.m.
Sarah Chen is a freelance writer living in northwest Tucson with her husband, son and daughter.