BY: Brent Hazelton
DIRECTOR: Bennett Wood
VENUE AND ADDRESS: Theatre Memphis in the Next Stage, 630 Perkins Ext, Memphis, TN, 38117
TIMES OF SHOWS: Thursdays @ , Fridays and Saturdays @ with matinees @ on Sundays
TICKETS: $30 adults, $15 student; $25 Military and 62 and older
BOX OFFICE: 901.682.8323
SPONSORED BY: Gene and Sandra Cochran
Liberace! returns September 30 and runs until October 16, 2016, in the Next Stage at Theatre Memphis as an encore performance of the 2015 summer fundraising hit. Featuring Gary Beard as the title character, this moving and highly entertaining tribute to the performer and musician famous for his charm, glitz, and glamour relives the highs (and lows) of Liberace’s prolific life revealing the real person behind the persona. Interwoven with a rollicking piano score spanning classical and popular music from Chopin to “Chopsticks” and Rachmaninoff to Ragtime, this production will have the audiences cheering the life of a unique American icon.
Liberace! is performed as a solo act by veteran musician Gary Beard who has served as Music Director and consultant to Theatre Memphis over the past decade. Most recently he was the Music Director for the acclaimed Theatre Memphis production of Into the Woods. Retired from Lindenwood Christian Church after 37 years of service there as Director of Music and Artist in Residence.
On playing such an iconic character as Liberace, Beard relates, “The biggest challenge is that he was such a unique character and performer. His playing style was flashy, but it was also good. He also had a very unique and affected speaking voice, and though I'm not trying to 'be' him, I think the character has to have some of that in order to portray Liberace.“
Director Bennett Wood says directing Beard again is a real treat. “We have worked harmoniously on so many shows as stage director and music director that we have a totally comfortable collaboration. We are fine tuning a bit this time but essentially we are restaging what we did last summer. I totally trust his musical expertise, he totally trusts my theatricality.” Wood continues, “The script as written calls for both presentation and impersonation, Gary is adept at both. Our principle work has been on showing the conflict in him between the artist and the entertainer. This is the spine of the play.”
Theatre Memphis Executive Producer Debbie Litch exalts, “Gary is the perfect person to portray a musical icon like Liberace … the charm, technique and entertaining ability come naturally to Gary. I am so thrilled to be able to again showcase a Memphis legend playing a true national treasure. This show is all about entertainment!”