Liberace tribute will shimmer, shine online

It has been a few years since a Liberace impersonator with local ties — and the nod from the ritzy glitzy pianist’s own former music director — brought his shiniest ringed fingers to this area.

Pandemic precautions mean more art for you.

David Saffert portrays Liberace, and Jillian Snow Harris portrays Liza Minnelli. (2016 file photo)
David Saffert portrays Liberace, and Jillian Snow Harris portrays Liza Minnelli. (2016 file photo)

David Saffert, of Spooner and the University of Wisconsin-Superior, and longtime stage mate Jillian Snow Harris are offering a post-holiday special that is available for streaming. “Liberace & Liza: A Tribute” is a holiday cabaret that sold out in 2019 at Portland’s CoHo Theatre. Bo Ayars, who worked with Liberace, will conduct.

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Expect costumes, comedy and Christmas carols.

When this duo played locally in 2017, a News Tribune reviewer said of the show: “David Saffert’s Liberace has two things going for him. First, an elfin grin that usually ends up in a sly wink in our direction. Second, killer piano arrangements with Liberace’s hallmark dazzlingly excessive ornamentation and which I cannot believe you simply find on published sheet music.”

“Liberace & Liza: A Tribute” plays at 9:30 p.m. Dec. 26-27. Tickets available at cohoproductions.org.

Bentleyville runs through Dec. 31. (2020 file / News Tribune)
Bentleyville runs through Dec. 31. (2020 file / News Tribune)

Light up your life (even more) at Bentleyville

There are two things to know about this year’s Bentleyville experience: It takes a long time in a long line to get there; It’s worth it.

And an added bonus: The tour of lights extended its season through New Year’s Eve. You could literally start 2021 exiting Bentleyville.

Quick gist: Bentleyville is that big, glowing spectacle at Bayfront Festival Park. This year, for safety reasons, what has traditionally been a walking tour is now a driving tour. Kill the headlights, cram all the noses against all the windows, and take a slow roll under the lighted arches, past the lit takes on local landmarks.

Santa and Mrs. Claus are within waving distance.

Anecdotal evidence suggests you cannot get there too early.

Bentleyville is open 5-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 5-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 5-midnight on New Year’s Eve. Tickets: $10 per car at the gate.

Radio show tells ‘A Christmas Carol’

Wise Fool Theater has shifted again to radio mode for its upcoming production of “A Christmas Carol.” More than a dozen local artists have signed on for the production of Charles Dickens’ classic cautionary tale. Kevin Quarmby stars as Ebenezer Scrooge, the old crank who gets a look at his world through the help of some ghostly guides.

The script was adapted for radio by the company’s director, Chani Ninneman, and sound effects are by local guru Nicholas Gosen.

The all-star cast includes John Munson, Rob Larson, Brad Damon, Lee Cutler, Nathan Payne, Vicki Fingalson, David Orman, Holland Venhuizen, Jeffrey Madison, Campbell Florence, Carrie Rossow Boberg, Daniel Loudon Stock and violinist Erin Aldridge.

Wise Fool Theater’s production of “A Christmas Carol” is at 7 p.m. Dec. 24 on 91.3-FM KUWS/WPR. Follow them on Facebook.

Holiday Spectacular Extravaganza Pageant's "Holly Days" (photo from Facebook)
Holiday Spectacular Extravaganza Pageant's "Holly Days" (photo from Facebook)

Joyraiser pageant, with bonus days

Holidays of yesteryear have included the Holiday Spectacular Extravaganza Pageant, a sort of variety show starring local artists.

Like so many things, this year’s event has shifted online. Unlike so many other events, this one now spans multiple days.

The crew behind the HSEP, as they call it, is offering five videos over five days — dancers, singers, a light show, stories, humor and music.

Follow Holly Days: An HSEP Virtual Joyraiser on Facebook to see the videos as they are released.

Strikepoint Handbell Choir (strikepoint.com)
Strikepoint Handbell Choir (strikepoint.com)

Get merry with the DSSO

The Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra’s Twin Ports Holiday Spectacular concert is now available for streaming. It’s free to viewers, but they are asking for a donation to Strikepoint, the local handbell choir that was a part of the program.

If you aren’t into navigating the world of on-demand streaming, it will also be rebroadcast at 7 p.m. Dec. 25 on PBS North. More information at dsso.com.