He's been described as a classical version of Jon Brion, but I'd call him today's version of Victor Borge. Watching Lithuanian-born concert pianist Rudolph Budginas in action recalls those halcyon days when audiences rolled in the aisles to Borge's droll antics, which never got old even when the Great Dane did. Just before his death at 91, Borge's classic routines were still hilarious, and one hopes his young successor will have as long a run. The astonishingly talented Budginas, who as a kiddie prodigy studied at the Moscow Conservatory, rolls into So Cal this week as part of a marathon 82-city, 32-state U.S. tour. He'll take his audience in a wild ride through the classical, pop, jazz, country and other musical worlds, combining "serious" piano with funny stories about his childhood; a souped up version of Beethoven's "Moonlight" Sonata; commentary on Johnny Cash's "I Walk the Line"; and a couple of his specialties: pop/jazz/ragtimey versions of Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 5 and Bizet's Carmen that feature a rollicking band of irreverent instrumentalists.
Tue., Jan. 5, 7:30 p.m., 2010