Martin Preston visited our East Activity Center last evening to do a show. Mr. Preston has spent the last 20 years re-creating the music and glamour of the late, great Liberace.
Martin Preston as Liberace
Niki and I – along with the rest of the audience – were not disappointed that we came. We were treated to an hour and a half show of brilliant piano music that transported us back to that time when we just couldn’t understand what our parents and grandparents found so enjoyable about a rather strange guy with his glittering grand piano and (way) over-the-top, one-of-a-kind outfits.
Now we know! Liberace was not only a one-of-a-kind showman, he was flawless on the piano – as is Mr. Preston. When he walked on stage he was Liberace!
Mr. Showmanship plays in our Activity Center
Both the glittering grand piano and his several costume changes during the show were faithfully copied from the original designs that Liberace used and wore – down to the glittering cape with flashing lights of his encore performance. Martin Preston’s Liberace is supported and applauded by the Liberace Foundation in Las Vegas. He played all of the music that Liberace was known for, from 1890’s “Pop Tunes” to Gershwin to The Beer Barrel Polka, Malaguena, The 12th Street Rag, and I’ll Be Seeing You, and also taking random requests from the audience which he pieced together into a flowing medley toward the end of his performance. We have to say – other than the play itself – you haven’t heard “Phantom” until you hear it the way Liberace would have played it! Niki and I were blown away by last evening. (We now think maybe our elders weren’t quite so “strange” for liking this Liberace person!)
Mr. Preston brought an up-and-coming young artist with him who performed three short sets while “Liberace” changed costumes. He did a number of songs from Broadway productions including a medley from Oklahoma. He has had experience in a number of theatre productions and we thought he did extremely well – followed by “Liberace’s” re-appearance with a new outfit that was – dare I say — gaudier than the one before it!
A glittering encore to end a wonderful show
From Mr. Preston’s Bio: “Recently, Mr. Preston was invited to star in the symphonic production Pops Goes Vegas! His performances as Liberace with the Indianapolis Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, Canada, Detroit Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, and many others, are bringing the magic of Liberace to a whole new audience! But no matter where he is appearing, his greatest thrill is meeting the great showman’s many fans, and being told “You ARE Liberace!”
On the Road with Niki, Jack and snowbirdrvtrails.com
Our Activity Center pre-performance