Kwn for creating fantastic spectacles and possessing rare charisma, the magnificent and flamboyant Wladziu Valenti Liberace was a world-rewned star in the entertainment industry for more than four decades, and is particularly celebrated for the outrageous costumes that people remember and most associate with him. In Liberace Extravaganza! , Liberace's famous sequined, bejeweled, and rhinestone-studded outfits, as well as his extravagant collection of furs and feather capes, are exhibited in book-form for the very first time. Authors Connie Furr Soloman and Jan Jewett are well-established costume designers and have been given exclusive access by the Liberace Museum and Foundation to photograph Liberace's costumes. They will trace the incredible development of them from Liberace's humble beginnings as a young man performing in his brother's hand-me-downs, to his $24,000 suits (more than 10 of which were worn during his 80 minute performances) covered in layers of silk and satin ruffles, Austrian Swarovski crystal rhinestones, and 14k white gold diamond encrusted buttons, to his electric costumes, the first ones ever created, that featured four thousand light bulbs and weighed more than twenty-five pounds. The book will include a foreword from Michael Travis, Liberace's principle designer, interviews with Jim Lapidus and Anna Nateece, two of Liberace's most celebrated designers, and Ray Arnett, Liberace's stage manager. The designers will give first-hand accounts of what it was like to work with the self-proclaimed Mr. Showmanship. Also featured will be 20 drawings, pulled from the designers' original sketchbooks, that were used to create some of Liberace's most famous costumes. This unique project is timed to the release of a biopic on Liberace directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Michael Douglas as Liberace and Matt Damon as his lover, Scott Thorson, as well as the premier of a Broadway musical about Liberace.
Connie Furr Soloman has worked extensively as a costume designer in regional theater and opera. Her designs represented the United States at the 2003 and 2007 Prague Quadrennial, as well as the 2005 World Stage Design Conference, and her puppet designs are featured in Salsa, the Emmy award-winning children's television series. She is a member of the United Scenic Artists Union and is an associate professor at Arizona State University. Jan Jewett has worked in the costume design industry for more than thirty-one years, manufacturing costumes for such clients as Bette Midler, Cher, and Donny and Marie Osmond, as well as for Disney parades. Jan has also overseen the creation of costumes for Broadway musicals, Carnegie Hall concerts, award-winning national commercials, and some of the most lavish corporate events, galas, television shows, and films produced over the last decade.