The Placer Performance Calendar


Great Local Shows - Theatrical Reviews

Title Vegas Stars Present!
Organization Sutter Street Theatre
Date(s) of show January 9-24, 2015
Reviewer Letha Dawson

Liberace, that Italian boy wonder whose first gig was as a solo pianist at the age of 16 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, went on to become the flamboyant pianist we all know.  It is said, he became the highest paid entertainer for a while in America.   Many pianists have impersonated Liberace, but none better than John Wilder, who is playing in Folsom at the Sutter Street Theatre.  You don’t have to travel to Tahoe’s casinos or take a cruise this January to hear the phenomenal John Wilder make a piano stand up and dance.  He is “Liberace,” costumed in glittery diamonds, furs, and a white tux.  Maestro Wilder’s fingers fly so fast up and down the keyboard, it’s a musical blur as he lets fly Latin and boogie woogie beats. 

Liberace starts the show with Flight of the Bumble Bee and just like that bee buzzes the audience for the rest of the evening, playing well-known songs like Chattanooga Choo-Choo and The Impossible Dream.  Between Liberace’s solos at the piano, there is a host of impersonators who entertain.  Steve Lawrence (David Valprado) and Eydie Gorme (Eileen Beaver) croon I Wonder Why…I’m Just in Love, blending a fine duet performance.   Liberace returns to thrill the audience with his rendition of Sophisticated Lady, inserting arpeggios and runs at will, all the time beaming and flashing smiles at the audience.  His hands are on automatic. 

Elvis (David Valprado), takes Liberace’s advice as to how to improve his act:  Elvis reappears flaunting white satin bell-bottoms and an Elvis pompadour. 

What does every cabaret show need?  That’s right, a good child act.  And this show has one: The Osmonds (Benjamin, Joshua and Jonathan Matta)!  These brothers, in matching flashy shirts, sing acapella harmony.   They are terrific, including a little dancing and comedy in their routine when the little fella grabs his big brother’s arm which is flung across his face and pulls it down so he can have some of the spotlight. 

There is more comedy to come when Carol Burnett (Connie Mockenhaupt) appears as a cleaning lady pushing her pail and mop.  It’s not long before she’s leaning under the hood and dusting the inside of the grand piano as Liberace is playing.  I won’t mention the hilarious disaster which follows. 

After Carol Burnett’s clumsy dusting, John Wilder (Liberace) performs his versions of “Tea for Two” and “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.” They are everything and more in his hands, these two classic American songs.  The talent keeps coming when Liberace proudly announces the next performer--cartoon character, Betty Boop.  The curtains part and a ruby red, shimmering evening-gowned Betty Boop (Rebekah Matta) peers timidly through the curtain, then steps on stage and sings her little heart out coyly, sweetly, brainlessly, just the way only Betty could.   

Glitter, extravagance, rhinestones, diamonds, furs, capes, and fabulous piano playing-- it’s all at the Sutter Street Theatre in Folsom.

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