Viral Hit, "Impressionist Jim Meskimen Does Shakespeare in Celebrity Voices" Takes Accomplished Voice Actor Out from Behind the Mic and in Front of the Online World

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Impressionist Jim Meskimen's viral YouTube hit, where he performs a speech from Richard III in 25 celeb voices, has garnered over 650,000 views since mid July, many of which came from Shakespeare scholars and teachers who were grateful for a way to interest students in the Bard.

"I just wanted to promote my stage show. When the video went viral, everything just opened up for me... after 18 years in L.A. I'm an overnight success!"

Meskimen, a voiceover, film and television actor in Los Angeles who has appeared in five Ron Howard films and provides voices for The Tonight Show, animated shows Thundercats, Family Guy, films such as Transformers III and originally gained fame via the viral hit "This Land" from Jibjab.com, uploaded the video mainly to promote his live JIMPRESSIONS show in Hollywood.

"It was a big surprise to see it go viral," he said, "Craig Ferguson Tweeted it, and Stephen Fry, and suddenly it was on NYTimesMag.com, and others, and really started to go nuts. I’m very chuffed (as the Brits say) to see it go nuts online. It's been getting a whole new kind of audience to my show."

"I've been very pleased to hear from teachers and students who found the video helpful. I love Shakespeare and his language, so to be able to inspire others is very satisfying. It's also pretty flattering to have some pretty esteemed British performers and scholars praise one's work. Very unexpected, too."

"My main message is that the human voice is a very unique thing; we are more and more faced with robotic voices in our society–human communication is actually dwindling. And my show is designed to inspire people to explore and appreciate the human voice, their own as well as those of celebrities we love."

Gather.com said, “Not since Rich Little has there been such a talented and hilarious impressionist”, and Entertainment Weekly.com called Meskimen “One side-splitting, hyper observant celebrity impersonator.” Time magazine.com listed Shakespeare in Celebrity Voices as one of the top five viral videos of July.

All quite heady for the Santa Monica born actor, son of TV's Marion Ross of Happy Days fame.

"I taught him everything he knows", asserts Ross, tongue in cheek, and Meskimen concurs; "She's been a role model as a mom and as a performer. I'm her top fan/son."

JIMPRESSIONS, which is running in Hollywood at The Acting Center, is a two act, one-man homage to the great impressionists of the 70's, features about 75 celebrity impressions in a ninety minute show, and is good for all ages.

Hollywood, CA dates: September 9, 10 & 11th, October 7 & 8, and November 4 & 5.

For information and reservations, go to http://theactingcenterla.com/on-the-stage-2/

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Roland Portugal

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