03/21/04 — Richard Glazier performs

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Richard Glazier performs

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on March 21, 2004 2:04 AM

"Can't sing. Can't act. Slightly balding. Can dance a little bit."

This was the evaluation given of an actor who had auditioned for RKO in the early 1930s. Know who he was?

Fred Astaire!

Fortunately, Hollywood gave him a chance, and he became a star.

This story was one of many pianist Richard Glazier shared when he performed "A Salute to the Hollywood Musical" Friday night at Wayne Community College. The performance was the last in the Wayne Community Concerts 2003-04 season.

It was a return engagement for Glazier, who had given a well-received concert of Gershwin music a couple of years ago. Again, he engaged the audience. Again, he played beautifully. And, again, he had a local musician join him to play "Embraceable You."

The idea of teaming with a local musician was Glazier's way of expressing appreciation to lyricist Ira Gershwin, who in his later, reclusive years, had invited a young George Gershwin fan into his home and had him play a song on George's piano.

At the conclusion of the piece, Ira told the 12-year-old that George Gershwin had played that piano, composer/pianist/actor Oscar Levant had played that piano "and some day they'll say Richard Glazier played that piano."

The child was touched -- and inspired.

When he first came to Goldsboro, Glazier performed "Embraceable You" accompanied by Weil Sawyer. This time, he asked that Sawyer, now a student at the N.C. School for the Arts, be invited again because of his talent.

The duet was well done, and the audience was pleased.

Glazier's concert included film clips, such as some private film shot by composer Harold Arlen on the set of "The Wizard of Oz." There was also audience participation. Glazier showed a clip of Judy Garland singing "Dear Mr. Gable/You Made Me Love You," then had the lyrics projected on scene and had the audience sing along. Later, the audience performed the "la-la-las" to the comical song, "Lydia the Tattooed Lady,"

"Isn't It Romantic," "Body and Soul," "An American in Paris," "If I Only Had a Brain," "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and so much more was offered by Glazier.

The final number was a beautiful performance by Glazier of Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," a selection Glazier called a voice of America, its people and Gershwin's genius.

Throughout the concert, Glazier's love for music and movies was evident.

The audience responded with a standing ovation that lasted long enough for Glazier to bow, leave the stage and return.

And hopefully he will return still again in another Community Concerts season.