BWW Preview: THE HANDS OF LIBERACE at Green Valley Recreation West Center
Premiere virtuoso pianist Philip Fortenberry continues his solo tour, "The Hands of Liberace" tour in Arizona. Celebrating the musical genius of Liberace in his concert, Fortenberry will play well-known, loved pieces and share his insights. A performer on Broadway and the Las Vegas Strip, Fortenberry will star in "The Hands of Liberace" in the Green Valley Recreation West Center in Green Valley, Arizona on March 14.
The show is inspired by Fortenberry's appearance in HBO Films' "Behind the Candelabra," starring Michael Douglas as Liberace spanning the 1970s until Liberace's passing in 1987. Fortenberry was literally the hands for Douglas and body double playing all of the piano music for the film. Fortenberry is not an impersonator or tribute artist. He is a classically trained pianist with an extensive career encompassing a wide range of musical genres. On Broadway, Fortenberry performed in "Cats," "Jesus Christ Superstar," "The Lion King," "Ragtime" and "Rocky."" He was also the full-time pianist and associate conductor of "Jersey Boys" on the Las Vegas Strip until the show closed. Fortenberry played over 300 one-man performances of "Liberace and Me" as an artist-in-residence at the famed Liberace Museum.
As for Liberace's influence, Fortenberry told BroadwayWorld.com, "As a child, I was exposed to recordings of Liberace. When I began my residency at the Liberace Museum, I researched his repertoire and discovered that the music he played. This is an opportunity to showcase his skill as well as my own skill as a pianist." One of the many well-known pieces Fortenberry has performed and interpreted is "Malagueña," widely recognized by the audience.
"What Liberace did was bring classical music into a commercial arena," Fortenberry stated about the genius of Liberace. "His technical abilities, the tricks, the scales, the flourishes; he was able to take those elements and incorporate classical music as a more commercial piece. First and foremost, he was a pianist."