America's Oldest · Founded 1808

The Independence Studio on 3 Sparkles with the Spirit of LIBERACE! Performances begin March 24

March 2, 2015

PHILADELPHIA, PA: Walnut Street Theatre’s 2014-2015 Independence Studio on 3 season continues with a tribute to “Mr. Showmanship” himself, Liberace!. Written and Directed by Brent Hazelton, the production begins with previews on March 24th, opens on March 26th and continues through April 12th in the Walnut’s Independence Studio on 3.

Liberace! is a moving and highly entertaining tribute to the man who epitomized charm, glitz and glamour. On a stage set reminiscent of his celebrated TV program, we re-live the highs and lows of Liberace's famed life. Who was the real person behind the persona, one of the most talented and acclaimed performers of the 20th century? Interwoven with a piano score that spans classical music from Chopin to Chopsticks and Rachmaninoff to Ragtime, Liberace! will have audiences cheering the life of this unique American icon.

Born as Wladziu Valentino Liberace in Wisconsin in 1919, Liberace was a child prodigy on the piano. He studied at the Wisconsin College of Music at the age of seven and, among early professional appearances, performed as a soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at age 16. With a mix of classical training and an extravagant flare for showmanship, Liberace went on to become one of the most iconic performers of the 20th century. In 1952, his popularity soared after The Liberace Show began to air on television. A few years later, he starred in the movie Sincerely Yours. Liberace sold millions of records and performed sold-out concerts across the United States. He performed frequently in Las Vegas with wonderfully outrageous theatrics that delighted his adoring fans. Liberace was awarded two Emmy Awards, six gold albums and two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for his musical achievements and the other for his television achievements. His impact on the entertainment industry was legendary and can be seen through his influences on musical sensations including Elvis Presley and Elton John.

The fame and fortune came with peaks and valleys throughout his life. Guarded in his strong armor of gems and rhinestones, Liberace gracefully survived the critics, the media attacks on his sexuality and the law suits that occupied his personal life. Even after his death in 1987, Liberace’s songs continue to entertain audiences, while his life continues to fascinate the world.

Playwright and Director Brent Hazelton noted of Liberace!, “my goal in telling his story, was to reach for something honest, real, balanced, and fundamentally human… to reach back to that initial fascination with my own discovery of Liberace as something other than a drag clown in millions of sequins and a couple hundred pounds of seashells or feathers, and find the real guy.” Hazelton has been with Milwaukee Repertory Theater since 1999 and is currently the Associate Artistic Director. His show Liberace! debuted at The Rep during their 2010-2011 season. The show became one of the theatre’s most successful productions in the history of their Stackner Cabaret. Due to popular demand, Liberace! was remounted this season to audiences’ delight, and quickly surpassed its prior success becoming the number one, best-selling show of all time in the Stackner. This production of Liberace! is created in cooperation with The Liberace Foundation.

Jack Forbes Wilson will take his seat at the impressive seven foot, black, baby grand piano on stage in Studio 3 as Liberace. Along with playing the iconic entertainer, he has contributed original music compositions and arrangements to the production. Wilson has been with the show since its world premiere, most recently performing to sold-out houses and critical acclaim in Milwaukee this winter. He has a Master of Music Degree from University of Wisconsin-Madison and has been performing as a pianist, singer and actor for over 25 years. His credits include American Players Theatre, Madison Rep, Skylight Music Theatre and Next Act Theatre. He is thrilled to join Brent Hazelton and the Walnut Street Theatre for this production.

The Walnut welcomes Scenic Designer Scott Davis, making his Studio 3 debut with Liberace!, along with Costume Designer Alex Tecoma and Lighting Designer Scott Parker. Nicholas Gackenbach returns as Sound Designer, having most recently designed Bad Jews in Walnut’s Studio 3.

Season sponsor for the 2014-2015 Independence Studio on 3 Season is The Independence Foundation. Media season sponsors are Philadelphia Weekly and WRTI Radio. Tickets are $30 and are now available at 215-574-3550 or 215-336-1234. Tickets are also available at or