GARNER THE GLITZ AND GLAMOUR OF “LIBERACE!”


BONNIE GOLDBERG

Light the candelabras and chandeliers, don the classy costumes and cloaks festooned with thousands of sequins, prepare the piano for polished playing and welcome Liberace to the stage. Until Sunday, November 15, Daryl Wagner is becoming the glittering and flamboyant entertainer who once upon a time was the highest paid star in the show business circuit, earning $350,000 a week for his spectacular Las Vegas shows. The Ivoryton Playhouse is rolling out the red carpet to welcome Mr. Showmanship, in “Liberace!,” in all his glittering glory.

Daryl Wagner is no stranger to the role, as he has inhabited Liberace’s skin for two decades in “Legends in Concert" on the Las Vegas stage and now is happy to share the star with audiences at this grand old summer theater that is over one hundred years old.

Wagner brings the consummate entertainer to captivating life as he uses his talents and bejeweled hands to tickle the ivories, playing classic and pop tunes, while schmoozing about his colorful life. With tales of his childhood and immigrant background, his career, his brother George on the violin, he tiptoes along his slow start in small clubs until he took off like a meteor shower to stardom and a string of sold-out performances at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall.

With trademark glamorous outfits costing $10,000 or more each that distinguished him from the crowd, Liberace stood in his own spotlight of fame. With personality plus, he held sway in a special milieu that he created alone. Pounding out tunes like “The Boogie Woogie,” “Beer Barrel Polka,” I’ll Be Seeing You,” “Night and Day” and “Who Could Ask for Anything More,” clothed in feathers and fur, sparkles and sequins, Liberace often said “Too much of a Good Thing is Wonderful.”

In this intimate revelation of the man and his music, penned by Brent Hazleton, the showman is at once clad in all his glamour and stripped of all his charisma. The controversy that always swirled around his sexual orientation is dealt with in an upfront and personal way, as the man behind the spangles is exposed, flaws and fascinations and all. Jacqueline Hubbard directs this honest, heartwarming and heartbreaking look at one of America’s most excess driven entertainers.

For tickets ($42, seniors $37, students $20 and children $15), call Ivoryton Playhouse, 103 Main Street, Ivoryton at 860-767-7318 or online at wwwivorytonplayhouse.org.  Performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., and Wednesday and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Come meet Wladziu Valentino Liberace, known to his friends as Lee or Walter, as Daryl Wagner brings him brilliantly to larger-than-life superstar prominence on the Ivoryton Playhouse stage.

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