Joseph Hall never planned on becoming an Elvis Presley impersonator, but when opportunity knocked, he answered.
“If you would have told me 13 years ago that I would be doing Elvis, I would have told you no,” Hall said. “But opportunities come and you’ve got to take them.”
The Lincoln native returns to Columbus next week with his show, "Elvis: Rock ‘N’ Remember." The two-hour concert starts at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 6 at VFW Post 3704, 2720 23rd St. Tickets cost $20 and can be purchased at the door.
”My goal is to capture the essence of Elvis and entertain people on stage,” Hall said. “I’m very proud of it. I’m very proud of my show, and I’m very proud of what I do.”
Hall, 34, has been performing for the past 13 years. Before he first got up on stage, Hall was a manager at his family's Golden Corral restaurant franchise. But things changed when he dressed up as Elvis for a Halloween party in Havelock. That night, the then-21-year-old man joined his father's band on stage to perform a few Elvis songs.
Hall said a woman was so impressed by his performance that she invited him to perform at her bar. Before long, he was playing at various birthday parties and corporate events.
In 2008, Hall got his big break. He performed on the NBC reality show “America’s Got Talent,” where he ultimately placed in the top 10 of the competition. For that season, Piers Morgan, Sharon Osbourne and David Hasselhoff served as the judges, while Jerry Springer was the show's host.
“Once I came off the show, the phones started ringing,” Hall said. “And I’ve been a full-time Elvis performer ever since.”
Hall's Elvis show first premiered back in 2011 and is comprised of him performing about 30 Elvis classics, such as “Hound Dog," “Suspicious Minds” and “Viva Las Vegas." Hall said he has also read up on the late rock star and recites several stories and conducts trivia on the idol between each song.
“He really had an amazing story. There’s a lot of passion in his life and there's also a lot of darkness,” Hall said. “He was a human being who had a lot of responsibility.”
Unlike some other impersonators, Hall said he allows himself to break character in the show. When he's interacting with the audience and speaking, he said that's all him. But when he's singing on stage, he's full-on Elvis.
The reasoning behind the separation, Hall said, is to build a personal connection with the viewers. His goal is to make people fans of Elvis and himself as an artist.
“I’m here to entertain the audience to the best of my ability," Hall said. "I’ve always believed that to connect to the audience you cannot put up a wall."
VFW building manager Greg Pleis said Hall performed at the venue during the summer and had a turnout of about 160 people. He said the show was well worth the money.
“It was really quite entertaining,” Pleis said about Hall's show earlier this year. “He’s a pretty class act, does a really good job.”
T-shirts and CDs will be available for purchase at the show. Drinks and food will be for sale at the Post Canteen inside the VFW.
“If you are an Elvis fan, you will love the show," Hall said. "And if you are not an Elvis fan, you will be very entertained."
Eric Schucht is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at email@example.com.