The Entertainer returns to Beaver Creek |

The Entertainer returns to Beaver Creek

Special to the Daily

When Marvin Hamlisch is done Wednesday, you’ll be inspired, amazed, enlightened … everything you’re supposed to be when you’ve spent the evening in the company of genius.

Hamlisch returns to the Vilar Center in Beaver Creek at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Don’t say you weren’t informed.

Hamlisch was the first performer to grace the Vilar Center stage when it opened 13 years ago, and now he’s back.

“I am glad to be back, and very happy to see the Vilar Center being part of the community and the arts,” Hamlisch said.

Hamlisch’s Vilar performance will be an evening of storytelling and song. It’ll be Hamlish playing the piano and telling the stories behind his songs, as he deftly weaves in tributes to Richard Rodgers, Scott Joplin and Cole Porter. Tenor J. Mark McVey will join Hamlisch.

For Hamlisch, music is a path to people, a universal language that can connect them.

“Music can make a difference. There is a global nature to music, which has the potential to bring all people together,” Hamlisch said. “Music is truly an international language, and I hope to contribute by widening communication as much as I can.”

Liza, Barbra and Fran

Hamlisch has real partnerships with legends Barbra Streisand and Liza Minelli, and an imaginary one with Fran Drescher of “The Nanny” television show.

He composed both Austin Powers’ “The Spy Who Shagged Me,” and James Bond’s 007 “The Spy Who Loved Me.”

He was musical director for Liza Minelli’s “Liza with a Z,” and Barbra with a T, as in Barbra Streisand’s “Timeless.”

He should get paid every time someone’s cell phone rings with “The Entertainer.”

“That is a very good idea!” Hamlisch said.

And he should be allowed to decide who gets to use his phrase, “One Singular Sensation,” the signature line from the Broadway musical “A Chorus Line.”

In a capital class

Writers in places like New York City tend to use a lot capital letters when they write about Hamlisch.

He was musical director and arranger of Barbra Streisand’s 1994 concert tour of the U.S. and England, as well as of the television special, “Barbra Streisand: The Concert.” It was “THE concert of her career, after all,” one reviewer gushed, and OK, it was because Hamlisch made sure it would be. He won two of his Emmys for the effort.

He conducted Liza Minelli’s “Liza With a Z,” declared “THE other concert event of the 20th century,” by the same gushing reviewer.

But do not become jaded because some wag found the shift key on the keyboard. This is Marvin Hamlisch we’re talking about. Those concerts really were THAT good, and so is he.

He adapted Scott Joplin’s music for The Sting and won an Oscar. Why? Because no one is better suited to pay homage to a great American songwriter/composer than another great American songwriter/composer.

From prodigy to prolific

Genius begins early. Hamlisch was born in 1944 in New York and started playing piano at 3 years old. At 5, he was at his piano mimicking music he heard on the radio. At 7, he was enrolled in the Juilliard School of Music.

At the tender age of 25 he wrote the score for Woody Allen’s directorial debut, “Take the Money and Run.”

His career has spanned four decades since then, and the Lifetime Achievement Awards are beginning to roll in.

The thing about those lifetime achievement awards is that with his phenomenal and massive body of work, they may have to award him for more than one lifetime.

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