Wayne’s World

wayne-newtonA lot has come and gone since Wayne Newton first set the entertainment world on fire as a precocious, big-voiced six-year-old. When Elvis Presley was still driving a truck, Wayne almost ten years his junior had already sung before a president, toured with a Grand Ole Opry road show and released his first record.

While the Beatles were still scrambling for their early Liverpool gigs, Wayne, who was two years younger than John Lennon, was playing Las Vegas and appearing on the Jackie Gleason and Lucille Ball television shows. In a business that is, at best, volatile, and success sometimes short-lived, Wayne has performed live, at last count, to more than 40 million people and on television and record, to many times that number. He has epitomized the talent, glamour and energy that is Las Vegas-the entertainment capital of the world-for so long that he is called “Mr. Las Vegas.” And these days, having established himself both on television and in movies as a fine actor, he’s getting more attention than ever.

He does it with the incredible talent and showmanship he was born with and the approach he developed as a child entertainer in Virginia. He simply works harder and digs deeper than anyone out there, sizing up audiences as he goes, tailoring shows to fit their moods, until he’s given them their money’s worth. The songs change and the show gets re-worked, but Wayne’s basic approach is the same as it has been since his beginning, and it’s something that goes to the core of who he is.

“I’m still doing the kind of shows I’ve always done.” Wayne says, “and I can tell you one thing; People may leave one of my shows disliking Wayne Newton, but they’ll never walk out saying, ‘He didn’t work hard for us’.

And now you don’t have to travel to that Oasis in the desert to see this legendary entertainer, because Mr. Wayne Newton is bringing his array of talents to the State Theatre in New Brunswick for an evening of songs and stories that will cover the glory years of his career.

Wayne was invited to national TV when Jackie Gleason, for whom he performed at a Phoenix luncheon, took him to New York for an appearance on his network television show. He would perform on Gleason’s show twelve times during the next two years.
“The Great One” was the first of many show business legends to become a mentor for this young entertainer. Lucille Ball had him as a guest a dozen times on her show. Others giving him special affection and support over the years were Danny Thomas, George Burns and Jack Benny. Bobby Darin produced and engineered his first record hits, “Heart,” “Danke Schoen,” “Red Roses For A Blue Lady,” “Summer Wind” and “Dreams Of The Everyday Housewife.” (He also scored a multi gold album and single on “Daddy, Don’t You Walk So Fast”: and other single hits to follow included “Years,” “She Believes In Me” and “While The Feelings Good.”)

But it was Jack Benny who helped make sure that in a day when lounge singers didn’t move up to Vegas’s main show rooms, Wayne Newton did. Wayne turned down thousands of dollars in the lounges to work for Mr. Benny as an opening act in the main show room for $1,500 a week, a slot he filled for the next five years.

Wayne’s extraordinary life is the outgrowth of one thing – his willingness and ability to give his all. He is the entertainer’s entertainer – a born showman who combines a host of God-given talents with an exceptional and disciplined work ethic and boundless stamina.

State Theatre, New Brunswick

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