Britain's No 1 piano entertainer Bobby Crush is to play the ultimate camp icon Liberace
in a new tribute show which tours the country next month. Liberace - Live In Las Vegas
is a celebration of the man who never wore a single diamond when fifty would do.
OutUK's Mike Gray has been hearing from Bobby what audiences are in store for.
Bobby Crush says Liberace – Live from Las Vegas! is a show that Liberace himself would have most definitely appreciated.
"He was known as "Mr. Showmanship" and it's
something that we're aiming to bring back to the theatre ... an evening of
glitz, glamour, music and good old-fashioned fun!"
Bobby has played Liberace before in a critically acclaimed performance in a West End play
about the American star and his need to keep his sexuality a secret.|
"The former was a dramatisation
of the court case that Liberace took against the Daily Mirror in
the late 50's when the journalist Cassandra wrote a scathing article suggesting that Liberace
was gay (which, of course, he was!). The play was a courtroom drama and my first proper acting
role. The only piano playing I did was right at the very end ... 3 minutes ... hardly worth rolling
the piano on for!
"This new show is totally different. It's a recreation of Liberace's nightclub act with singers,
dancers, a live band, six outrageous costume changes, candleabras, chandeliers and fountains ... it's
going to be extremely camp! The show also features all of Liberace's greatest hits including
The Beer Barrel Polka, Unchained Melody, Boogie Woogie and I'll Be Seeing You and
the dialogue is taken straight from his concert videos. I get to venture into the audience
and show off all the jewellery and talk about "Mama" and "Brother George" ... we're keeping
the whole thing very authentic in trying to recreate the experience of a Liberace concert."
His portrayal of Liberace in the West End play displayed Bobby's acting talents to the full
and he believes that the experience prepared him well for this musical tribute.|
"He was very flamboyant and
confident on stage but quiet and shy away from the crowd. I've had to approach this new show quite differently
but it's been a fascinating journey learning about the two sides of his personality." After his
death the Liberace Foundation have become protective of the performer's memory but they co-operated
with Bobby in making the show as authentic as possible though they wouldn't let him wear any of the
"They're deemed too precious to leave
the museum in Las Vegas. Instead, we're having replicas made by the same team that made all
the costumes for the last series of Strictly Come Dancing and what they don't know about
beading isn't worth knowing!"
Though Liberace never earned the respect of the critics for his musical skills, Bobby has found
it a big challenge to recreate the performances.
"It's been quite a slog for me because, unlike
Liberace, I wasn't classically trained so I'm having to learn a new style of playing which
has been different for me ... he didn't
make those arrangements easy! There have been quite a few rehearsals required to get
anywhere near the sound that he created but I think we're getting there."
The tour opens at the Congress Theatre in Eastbourne on October 3rd and a new compilation
Bobby Crush The Definitive Collection is released on Universal on October 16th.
Tuesday 3rd, Congress Theatre, EASTBOURNE, 7.30pm, 01323 412 000
Wednesday 4th, The Leatherhead Theatre, LEATHERHEAD, 2.30pm, 01372 365 141
Thursday 5th, Hazlitt Theatre, MAIDSTONE, 2.30pm & 7.30pm, 01622 758 611
Friday 6th, Angel Theatre, RENDLESHAM (near Woodbridge), 8.00pm, 01394 420 272
Sunday 8th, Lowther Pavilion, LYTHAM ST. ANNE'S, 7.30pm, 01253 658666
Tuesday 10th, Pavilion Theatre, WEYMOUTH, 7.30pm, 01305 783 225
Wednesday 11th, Ashcroft Theatre, CROYDON, 2.30pm, 020 8688 9291
Thursday 12th, Wyllyotts Theatre, POTTERS BAR, 2.00pm & 8.00pm, 01707 645005
Friday 13th, Lyceum Theatre, CREWE, 7.30pm, 01270 537 333
Sunday 15th, Princess Theatre, HUNSTANTON, 7.30pm, 01485 532 252
Monday 16th, Pavilion Theatre, WORTHING, 7.30pm, 01903 206 206
Tuesday 17th, Broadway Theatre, CATFORD (Lewisham), 2.00pm, 020 8690 0002
Wednesday 18th, Kenneth More Theatre, ILFORD, 3.00pm & 7.45pm, 020 8553 4466
Thursday 19th, Broadway Theatre, PETERBOROUGH, 7.30pm, 01733 316 100
Friday 20th, Winding Wheel, CHESTERFIELD, 7.30pm, 01246 345 222
Saturday 21st, Theatre Royal, ST. HELENS, 7.30pm, 01744 756 000
Sunday 22nd, Theatre Royal, MARGATE, (Canterbury Festival) 7.30pm, 01843 293 877