Impressionists Tom Stevens and Tony Lewis recreate the comedy and music of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis on stage in The Martin & Lewis Tribute Show taking place on Tues. April 18 at Parker Playhouse in Ft. Lauderdale..
Martin and Lewis were in their heyday as a duo performing comedy and music for a decade from 1946-56, making 16 films and hosting a network radio and television series in becoming one of the most popular duos in show business.
Despite the breakup of the duo in 1956, both Martin and Lewis went on to have successful careers as solo acts in films, stage and television.
However, many fans that followed the careers of Martin and Lewis felt that the magical years of their chemistry was as a team and not as solo entertainers.
Stevens and Tony Lewis capture the chemistry of the duo in a format that never mentions the breakup of Martin and Lewis.
“What Dean (Martin) and Jerry had was simply magic. There was never a duo quite like them. Tony and I both decided not only to recreate their chemistry with each other and the audience, but to interact as if many of their roles, such as Jerry becoming “The Nutty Professor” had taken place while they were still working together,” said Stevens.
Much like Martin and Lewis, Tony Lewis and Stevens each had been performing as solo performers, being impressionists for decades before teaming up in 2012.
Tony Lewis, who is from Australia, started performing in 1983 and, because of his strong physical likeness to Jerry Lewis, began to speak, act and sing as Jerry in his act. Lewis also did impressions of Neil Diamond, Tom Jones, Elvis Presley, but none of his other voices were as much in demand as when Tony played Jerry Lewis on stage.
While Tony Lewis earned his acclaim as Jerry Lewis primarily in Australia, the New York born Tom Stevens also entertained as an impressionist, primarily in Las Vegas in his Timeless Impressions shows doing the singing voices of Paul Anka, Neil Diamond, Julio Iglesias, Willie Nelson Frank Sinatra, among others and the voices of famous celebrities, such as Johnny Carson, Bill Clinton, Robert de Niro, Peter Falk, among others.
However, just like Tony Lewis having his primary impression as Jerry Lewis, Stevens’ audience saw his strong physical and vocal resemblance to Dean Martin. As a result, Stevens created his own Dean Martin tribute show which he still performs and entertained as the primary Dean Martin impressionist at the Dean Martin Festival in Martin’s hometown of Steubenville, Ohio.
“I performed in Steubenville at the Festival after Dean passed on and sang with his daughter Deana. She said that she had never seen anyone who looked and sounded like her daddy before.”
Tony Lewis happened to be seeking a Dean Martin impressionist when he saw Stevens in a video in 2012 and was immediately impressed with Stevens’ portrayal of Dean Martin.
“I was also so impressed by how Tony captured the look and personality of Jerry Lewis., Tony and I liked our impressions and felt that we needed to perform together after we spoke by phone. I went to Australia and after the first show we performed together, we knew we would be an instant hit with audiences.”
“It has been ten years plus, and Tony and I just have so much respect for each other. We love the many smiles and memories that we give to the audiences for being Dean and Jerry,” said Stevens.
Much like Martin and Lewis in their heyday, Lewis and Stevens have chemistry on stage, combining comedy, especially physical slapstick comedy by Lewis, to the music of Martin (Stevens) the ultimate cool crooner, singing romantic songs.
The success of many of the sketches of Lewis and Stevens has Lewis (Tony Lewis) interrupting Martin (Stevens) by playing the trumpet and other sight gags while Martin becomes angry with Lewis, resulting in lots of jokes and laughs from the audience.
Among the many roles of Jerry Lewis that Tony Lewis portrays in the tribute show are: Jerry the Juvenile Kid with a high pitched nasal voice, “The Nutty Professor”, a Chinese waiter, and recreating “The Typewriter Sketch” in which Lewis does a pantomime of typing set to music as Jerry Lewis performed in the film “Who’s Minding The Store”.
Tony Lewis has the greased hair Vaseline look of Jerry and times his comic antics perfectly with Stevens as the straight man of the duo.
As Dean Martin, Stevens croons many of Martin’s signature songs, such as “Everybody Loves Somebody”, “Memories Are Made Of This, ”Mambo Italiano”, “Return To Me” and “That’s Amore”, among other songs, many as duets with Tony Lewis as Jerry Lewis.
Wearing glasses and holding a cigarette, Stevens captures both the physical presence and charming personality of Dean Martin.
Tom Stevens and Tony Lewis