In producer Randy Nolen’s new show at the David Saxe theater, Liberace: Music and Memories, Liberace is allowed a few hours from heaven to spend on Earth and entertain his fans. Sporting convincing prosthetics, dazzling costumes and considerable charm, Wayland Pickard performs his impersonation with ease, nailing Liberace’s signature wink and Wisconsin accent. He hits the piano with flair, accenting the flourishes and flowing arpeggios that defined Liberace’s musical style. In between numbers, he keeps up a light comedic rapport with the audience.
Judging from the mature audience, this show appeals to those who remember Liberace’s heyday. Pickard makes numerous allusions to Lawrence Welk and ’50s-era celebrities—for younger viewers, he explains: “I’m your mother’s Elton John.”
A large piano and candelabra grace the spare stage, but a projection screen allows the audience to see Pickard’s hands fly across the piano. A disco ball appears during Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. The tribute to Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s Cats features an animation of city streets.
He finishes the show with a sentimental version of “I’ll Be Seeing You,” complete with a slideshow of Liberace with his family through the years. He’s escorted off the stage with a pair of angel’s wings upon his shoulders, telling the audience that he’s required back in heaven.
If you’re in the mood for a quality impersonation with quips about fashion and the afterlife, this show is for you.