Claudette Barius / HBO / AP
Tuesday, May 6, 2014 | 4:35 p.m.
Flamboyant entertainer and extraordinary pianist Liberace called Las Vegas home for 40 years, and his legacy is still alive today nearly three decades after his death in 1987.
Now after the success of the HBO’s “Behind the Candelabra” and with plans moving forward for a Broadway musical based on his life story, it looks as if yet another memory of Liberace’s incredible life is about to be reborn.
New Las Vegas resident Jeff Champagne is planning the restoration and reopening of the entertainer’s famed restaurant Candelabra. This week, he kicked off a crowdfunding campaign for 5,000 Liberace fans to participate at Indiegogo.com.
Jeff told me: “Several partners have teamed up to reopen his closed and abandoned restaurant. It is being reimagined as an exclusive, upscale 6,000-square-foot supper club with seven nights a week of live entertainment.
“It will showcase the hand-carved mahogany bar gifted to Liberace by the Queen of England in 1970 and a high-tech club to be known as Lee’s After Hours. We hope to open Candelabra in September.
“When I first saw the facility, it was appalling. Almost everything in the bar and restaurant that wasn’t nailed to the ground had been taken out. … At the same time, everything that remained was distinctly Liberace’s, including the piano-shaped bar that he had personally designed.
“I convinced the owners to make it a unique tribute to who I consider to be probably the single best entertainer in the world. The budget for the project has quadrupled since the new direction, and we’re hoping Liberace fans can help take us the rest of the way.
“We think this is going to be an amazing success. The Candelabra will be a fitting tribute to Liberace. I simply thought to myself, ‘What would Liberace do with it if he were still alive?’ And that has been my guiding philosophy.
“I think he would open an upscale supper club, put on great entertainment every night for his audience and lavish everyone with glitter, glam and gold.”
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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