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The Edwards Twins, Anthony and Eddie, celebrity impersonators from Las Vegas, will return Sept. 29 at 8 p.m. to the Collins Center for the Performing Arts, Andover High School, 100 Shawsheen Road, Andover.

It all started when a 16-year-old Eddie Edwards sneaked into a bar dressed as Bette Midler.

The disguise was probably the only reason he got past the door, he recalls. But as the evening progressed, it was Edwards' talent -- and not his get-up -- that started turning heads once he took the stage that fateful evening.

"I just kind of did it as a spoof and then someone asked me to perform at their club," said Edwards. "I did it without my parents knowing. I wasn't old enough to get into the bars."

Edwards' Midler impression was the spark that led to a career of celebrity impressions. He now tours the country with his identical twin brother, Anthony, performing an act they've been perfecting for the past 13 years.

The Edwards Twins' repertoire of impressions has now grown to 150 different entertainers. While Anthony tackles the male roles, Eddie sticks to the female parts. That's just the way it's come naturally to the two, Eddie Edwards says.

"Without me doing the females and he doing the males we really wouldn't have an act," said Edwards. "We are identical twins, but I have a bit of a smaller frame. I've also always had the higher voice than he did. That's how it worked out."

The twins, who will perform at the Collins Center on Sept. 29, now live in Las Vegas and perform hundreds of shows a year. They also summer on Cape Cod, where they entertained people four nights a week this year.

"To me, there's no place in the world I'd rather be than Cape Cod for the summer," said Edwards. "It's a beautiful place. It's cool. It's very hot in Las Vegas."

Audiences on Cape Cod would come back to see the Edwards Twins four and five times during the months of July and August, said the twins' manager, Stephen Dane. After having spent about a decade there, their fan base is significant, he said.

"They have a loyal following, but this was the best summer, hands down," said Dane.

Edwards thinks the reception has been so strong lately on Cape Cod because the twins have been tapping into as many of the 150 impressions as they can for performances. Collins Center audience members can expect a similar show, he said.

"They're not going to get all of the 150 that night, but they'll see a good portion of them," said Edwards. "What we've done is taken the very best of what we've done over 20 years and put it into one show."



QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

AT: Growing up, did you ever think you could make a living by doing impressions?

Edwards: Growing up, no. I never really thought I could make a living doing impressions. I know it was something we did when we were children. We started doing this at the age of 6, but I wanted to be an actor.



AT: Had working in show business always been a goal of yours?

Edwards: It's always been. Ever since I was little I always wanted to be a famous movie star. I never dreamed that I would be all the movie stars, so to speak.



AT: Was there a turning point in your career where you knew you could make it?

Edwards: The turning point in our career was when Carol Burnett asked me to be on her show impersonating her and also Bette Midler. She was the one who gave the idea to actually start doing this for a living.



AT: What were some of your early influences in entertainment?

Edwards: I think basically it would be Dustin Hoffman in the movie Tootsie, and also Rich Little, who happens to be a good friend of mine. And of course, also Carol Burnett, with all of the characters she did as well.



AT: Would you say that being an impressionist is your calling?

Edwards: Most definitely. I believe that God's put everyone on the earth to do something. My brother and I were definitely put on this earth to entertain people.



AT: What's your favorite roll?

Edwards: My favorite impression I would probably say would be Cher, just because the audience goes crazy. She's an entertainer that hits every generation.



AT: What do you consider to be the toughest character to take on?

Edwards: Barbra Streisand. That's basically because her voice is very difficult to get. Vocally, that's the most challenging for me.



AT: You've spent two decades in show business. Is it all it's cracked up to be?

Edwards: I'd have to say for me it's everything it's cracked up to be because I'm bringing joy to people every night. There isn't anything else in the world I'd want to do. The tough part of it is traveling, but other than that I love every aspect of it.



AT: What's the best part of doing what you do?

Edwards: The best part of what I do is bringing joy and amusement to people every night and letting people forget their problems for two hours.

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