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Liberace & Liza Holiday at the Mansion (A Tribute)

The play title beside a caricature-like 'Liberace' sitting at a grand piano with 'Liza' coming out of the piano's top.
November 11 – December 24, 2023
In the Ellyn Bye Studio

Don’t miss this exhilarating parade of musical and comical fireworks! Local favorites David Saffert and Jillian Snow have dazzled audiences from New York to Portland. Get ready for nonstop glamor and glitz as they take the stage as Liberace and Liza Minnelli! Featuring rousing musical numbers, enchanting costumes, and unforgettable laughs, this cheeky and delightful show will have your holidays sparkling.

“Highly entertaining … good music, good comedy, good fun.” –Oregon ArtsWatch

Liberace & Liza Holiday at the Mansion (A Tribute)

  • Created & Performed by David Saffert & Jillian Snow
Preview image for *Liberace & Liza* Reading List

Liberace & Liza Reading List

Calling all readers! Multnomah County Library put together a reading list inspired by our production of Liberace & Liza Holiday at the Mansion (A Tribute).

Preview image for An Interview with Jillian Snow and David Saffert

An Interview with Jillian Snow and David Saffert

PCS Literary Manager Kamilah Bush spoke to the creators and performers of Liberace & Liza Holiday at the Mansion (A Tribute) about their collaboration, their creative backgrounds, and their obsessions with the larger-than-real-life celebrities who inspired their stage personas.

The Performers 

David Saffert, Liberace

David, like Liberace, is a classically trained pianist from Wisconsin. He has been seen on stage in sketch comedy, improv, solo piano concerts, and in his very own music & comedy variety shows. David has worked as a pianist (sans sequins) with such organizations as the Guthrie Theater, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Portland Opera, Oregon Symphony, Portland Gay Men’s Chorus, Resonance Ensemble, Portland Center Stage, All Classical Radio and the Interlochen Arts Camp. Some of David’s favorite Liberace tribute highlights have been at 54 Below (NY), Feinstein’s at the Nikko (CA), Broadway Rose Theatre, CoHo Theatre & Ten Grands (OR), and as the featured guest on two Under the Vegas Sun television episodes filmed at the Liberace Mansion in Las Vegas. David thanks his parents for having provided him with piano lessons, Stephanie for her unending support, and his amazingly talented husband, Tyler, for having given him the most important ring on his finger.

Jillian Snow, Liza Minnelli
(She/They)

Jillian has been traveling across the country for almost a decade as a professional Liza Minnelli tribute artist. After graduating from performing arts college in New York City, the singer/actor/comedienne started showcasing Liza throughout the city before bringing her big voice home to Portland Oregon. Snow delights audiences with a diverse repertoire of famous female voices for whom she idolizes, and sometimes even her own. She currently tours with her company “In Sequins Productions” in the show Liberace and Liza: A Tribute that she co-created with David Saffert and is conducted by Liberace’s former music director Bo Ayars. Her most recent credits have been at venues such as 54 Below (NY), Feinstein’s at the Nikko (CA), Feinstein’s at Hotel Carmichael (IN), The Old Church (OR), Broadway Rose (OR), Newmark Theatre (OR), and is very excited to be performing at Portland Center Stage (OR) this holiday season! Special thanks to her sister Jade, best friend Paloma, and to her amazing partner Jenoa for their constant love and support.

Bo Ayars, Music Director/Conductor/Keys
(He/Him)

Bo is a man who wears many hats and has literally “performed, arranged and conducted” himself around the world, in concert halls in Europe, Australia, South Africa, Mexico, Canada, and here in the US, including 2 Christmas seasons at Radio City Music Hall, Disney at Lincoln Center and the Hollywood Bowl. The highlight of his career was conducting and arranging for Mr. Showmanship, Liberace. Though Lee has left us, Bo is still involved as an advisor to the Liberace Foundation. After hearing a performance of David Saffert paying tribute to Liberace, Bo became the Music Director for the popular “Liberace & Liza, Live!”, a tribute to Liberace and Liza Minelli, performed by Jillian Snow.“They’re excellent performers, capturing the talent and spirit of these two show business legends.”

The Band

(He/Him)

Kurt’s thrilled to be back at PCS. His music career started at age 17 playing drums in the nightclubs and dance halls of Portland Oregon. He brings over four decades of professional experience to every performance and it’s evident in his steady timekeeping, dynamics, phrasing, and melodic solos. He’s equally at home in leading a jazz trio, supporting vocalists, or driving a big band. He’s played on dozens of professional recordings and is a former voting member of the Recording Academy. He is also an alumnus of the Armed Forces School of Music and a veteran of the United States Marine Corps Band. Kurt's day gig is leading NetRaising, a Certified B Corporation that helps nonprofit organizations succeed on the web.

(She/Her)

Amy is thrilled to return for her second show with Portland Center Stage at The Armory. Favorite past highlights include being in the pit for West Side Story and Nunsense at Broadway Rose Theater Company. Since moving back to Portland, Amy has also performed on violin, viola, and bass for shows at Lakewood Center for the Arts, Stumptown Stages, and Pixie Dust Productions. She has also played for cabarets and variety shows, as well as local orchestras, with genres ranging from classical, jazz, rock, and bluegrass. Amy is especially grateful for the many people in the theater community who have helped her find her footing in Portland.

The Creative Team

Chip Miller, Director
(They/Them)

Chip is a director and producer, currently in the role of associate artistic director at Portland Center Stage. They were previously the artistic associate/resident director at KCRep. Directing: Choir Boy, It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, RENT, August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, the world premiere of Redwood by Brittany K. Allen (Portland Center Stage), Larry Owens’ Sondheimia (Carnegie Hall, Pasadena Playhouse), Journeys to Justice (Portland Opera), the world premiere of American Fast by Kareem Fahmy (Artists Repertory Theater), School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play, Welcome to Fear City, Sex with Strangers, A Raisin in the Sun (KCRep); the world premiere of Becoming Martin by Kevin Willmott (The Coterie); dwb: driving while black (Lawrence Arts Center, Baruch Performing Arts Center); 4:48 Psychosis (The Buffalo Room). Chip has developed work with playwrights including Kevin Wilmott, Kara Lee Corthron, Brittany K. Allen, Catherine Trieschmann, Darren Canady, Andrew Rosendorf, Susan Kander and Roberta Gumbel, Michelle T. Johnson, and Michael Finke. They have developed work at The William Inge Theatre Festival, NYU’s New Plays for Young Audiences, La Jolla Playhouse’s DNA Series, Portland Center Stage’s JAW New Play Festival, The Midwest Dramatists Center, KCRep’s OriginKC New Works Festival, Orlando Shakespeare Theater, The Living Room Theatre, and Musical Theatre Heritage.

Tyler Buswell, Scenic Designer
(He/Him)

Tyler is a proud local drag queen (Donatella Nobody), actor, designer, and educator. He is beyond excited to make his PCS design debut with this production after working as a scenic painter/carpenter on many PCS shows including Astoria, Little Shop of Horrors, and In The Heights. He has ten BroadwayWorld Portland Award nominations for best scenic design, winning for Bootycandy with Fuse Ensemble and runner-up for Camelot with Lakewood Theatre. His work was recently seen in the Ellen Bye Studio with ART’s Rolling World Premier of American Fast by Kareem Fahmy. Other companies he has designed for include Portland Opera, Theatre Vertigo, Bag&Baggage, 21Ten, Corrib, Pride Northwest, Renegade Opera and many more! He currently teaches tech theatre and costume design to an exceptionally talented group of middle and high schoolers at Northwest Academy who inspire him daily. He would like to thank his amazing husband, David Saffert, for his part in creating this fabulous show!

Joel Ferraro, Lighting Designer
(He/Him)

Joel is excited about designing his first full production with Portland Center Stage. He has worked for Portland Center Stage for several years as a lighting technician and most recently as the Master Electrician and Programmer for the Ellyn Bye Studio. Joel's recent designs in the Portland area include JAW New Play Festival 2023 (Portland Center Stage), Canela (Risk/Reward), Up Up & Away (Broadway Rose), and In Wildness (Third Angle).

Sammi Kelly, Sound Designer
(She/Her)

Sammi is so excited to be invited back to design at Portland Center Stage! Her previous PCS design tick …tick … BOOM! on the U.S. Bank Main Stage made her Regional Debut! Sammi has a B.A. in theater with music business and business administration focuses at the State University of New York at Potsdam. Other Sound Design credits include How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, UrineTown, The Secret Garden, Blood Wedding, Much Ado About Nothing and Wiley and The Hairy Man. She would like to shout out her Mom, Dad, Brother, Her Partner: Chelsea, L, Dance Teacher: Jules and all other friends and family for supporting her love of Sound Design! Please enjoy this wonderful show!

Janine Vanderhoff, Stage Manager
(She/Her)

Janine is thrilled to return for her eighth season at Portland Center Stage. She has been a stage manager and production manager for more than 20 years on Broadway, Off-Broadway, regionally, and on tour. Some of her favorites include HAIR, tick, tick ... BOOM!, RENT, Frida ... A Self Portrait, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Macbeth, A Christmas Memory/Winter Song, Wild & Reckless (Portland Center Stage); Sweeney Todd (Portland Opera); The Lion King (Broadway); The Graduate (starring Morgan Fairchild), Cats, The Vagina Monologues, Jekyll & Hyde, Show Boat (National Tours); The Daily Show with Jon Stewart “Democalypse 2012 Republican National Convention.” Proud NYU graduate and AEA member.

Alea Tran, Production Assistant
(They/Them)

Alea Tran is a theatre artist whose interests lie in creating art that provides space and support for minority voices. In addition to freelancing in a variety of backstage roles, they are a member of the PATHWAYS mentorship program through Artists Repertory and work box office at Third Rail Repertory Theatre. Recent productions include Adam’s Run (stage manager, Renegade Opera); Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (asst. stage manager, Oregon Children’s), American Fast (production manager, Artists Repertory); Chicken & Biscuits (asst. stage manager, Portland Playhouse); The Hombres (props assistant, Artists Repertory).

Heather Taylor (She/Her), Costume Maintenance

Abbie Northrup (They/He), Sound Mixer

Roy Josh Antonio, Bennet Berkower, Mike Cino, Sophina Flores, Zachary Horn, Kenneth Lomax, Dug Martell, Myke Rodriguez, Electricians

David’s Liberace costume designed by Jason Bray and built by Jeffery Wilson.

Local Reviews

"The songs are cheerfully and expertly delivered, the impersonations are loving and lived-in, and Saffert and Snow have such a chemistry that their comic banter shines as brightly as their glittering outfits. It’s a delight." —Oregon ArtsWatch

 It’s a fun, campy, and loving tribute, and the camaraderie the two have is beautiful. —BroadwayWorld

Audience Raves

"Lighthearted and fun backed by real talent."

"We loved everything about this show! It was absolutely delightful. Both actors did incredible jobs capturing the essence of these two icons. My face hurts today from smiling, and my belly hurts from laughing."

"That was a super fun start to the holiday season. Thank you for bringing this duo to your stage!"

"Nostalgic and excellent interpretations of the characters."

"Lively! Lovely! Laughable (in a good way)! The sound balance between instrumentals and vocals was excellent. The setting was delightful. Great way to kick off the holiday season."

"It kept me entertained. Such a joyous night of entertainment." 

Critic Reviews

“Highly entertaining … good music, good comedy, good fun, good time.” –Oregon ArtsWatch

“Whether they’re doing Britney Spears’s ‘Toxic’ or an old Judy Garland tune, it is breathtaking in the funniest, most wonderful way,” Hudson says. “Simultaneously retro and groundbreaking.” Carla Rossi in a PDX Montly feature

“The show imagines the living and departed legends as besties, with a hint of sibling rivalry. Between carols, audience sing-alongs, and Saffert's Liberace-esque piano renditions, there's room for plenty of wisecracking banter. And sequins.” –The Oregonian

“The show celebrated the immense talent and quirky personas of Liberace and Liza while playing upon an imaginary friendship between the two. Saffert and Harris, who’ve performed together for years, played their Liberace and Liza beautifully off one another, at times best friends and at others, hilarious frenemies.” –San Francisco Chronicle

More Photos on Flickr

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