Thursday, Jan. 15, 2009 | 12:01 a.m.
Known for bedazzling fans with sparkling suits in his energetic Liberace tribute show, Las Vegas entertainer Wes Winters will be reaching back to other legends at his variety show Friday to Sunday in the Suncoast Casino Showroom.
He's taking out the accordion for this one. And the heavy beaded costumes aren't going to get in the way of ripping renditions.
"It's hard to play the accordion when you're sweating to death," Winters said.
The audience will hear favorites from Barry Manilow, Jerry Lee Lewis and Rick Nelson. and, of course, Liberace.
His 7:30 p.m. show in the Suncoast Showroom will include "Jambalaya" on the accordion, a Liberace version of the "Johnson Rag" and a "Phantom of the Opera" medley.
As a full-time performer for about 22 years, Winters has performed in a variety of venues around the world. Despite all the Liberace love floating around the world, it's the Las Vegas locals who warm his heart.
"Especially with the economy the way it is now, I love having a big local following."
He has fans who plan to attend all three of his Suncoast shows, during which they'll also see Winters perform a duet with puppeteer Joseph Gabriel and his Liberace puppet.
Winters' musical career, as well as his tribute show, was spurred by the pop-culture superstar who performed frequently at the Las Vegas Hilton in the 1970s.
"I taught myself to play by playing along with his records."
Winters doesn't read music, he has always played the piano by ear. He grew up in Kansas to a family who owned a concrete company.
"I knew I was going to be a performer. But I didn't know I would be wearing sparkles or starting the Liberace show at the Liberace Museum."
The 44-year-old showman carried this engagement, and nightly performances at Carluccio's Tivoli Gardens in Las Vegas, for nearly five years.
Tickets start at $20 and can be purchased online at Suncoastcasino.com or by calling 636-7075.
Becky Bosshart can be reached at 990-7748 or [email protected].