Q&A LIZA MINNELLI
Bass Hall hosts Liza with a Kay
BY MARK LOWRY
STAR-TELEGRAM STAFF WRITER
Liza Minnelli has show business running through her veins. Not only does she have legendary parents -- Judy Garland and director Vincente Minnelli -- but she's an icon herself. Her storied career spans the latter half of the 20th century, and along the way she picked up numerous awards, including an Emmy, three Tonys, an Oscar for the 1972 film Cabaret and a "Grammy Legend Award" in 1990.
Minnelli is making her Bass Hall debut tonight, part of a weeklong celebration of the hall's 10th anniversary. Minnelli, who has been touring in Europe, will do her trademark material and will perform work from one of her mentors, composer/musician/singer/actress Kay Thompson, who was a vocal coach for Garland, Lena Horne and Frank Sinatra, among others.
We asked her a few questions about the show and her career.
Is there anything autobiographical in this show?
I have to talk about my life when I talk about Kay. This is my godmother. I learned to appreciate music early because of her, and I learned from her joy of life, her pizzazz. She's my idol.
What can we expect in your performance?
I'm dancing more in this show. I have a wonderful choreographer, Ron Lewis. I remember when The Act [which Lewis choreographed and Liza won a Tony for] was on Broadway, [Bob] Fosse said "that's the best dancing I've ever seen."
With show-business parents, was it a given that you would enter that world, too?
They were involved in Hollywood, so that was boring to me. I wanted to be an ice skater. I wanted to go to the Olympics. But then I saw Bye Bye Birdie on Broadway in 1960, and I knew that's what I wanted to do.
Your mom is one of the great vocalists of all time. Did singing come naturally?
I never thought I was a good singer; I still don't. I know how to interpret a song, but I consider myself a dancer first.
And like your mom, you've dealt with your share of tabloid headlines. Did she teach you anything about dealing with this?
That's something you kind of have to learn yourself. Actually, my father gave me the best advice. He said "You live your life the way you want to live it, and they say what they're gonna say. After they say it, you just go have a hamburger."
Do people assume that you had an easy route into show business?
They do. But I started off-Broadway, moving scenery. I did years of summer stock. I was a "flower who bloomed between the floorboards of the stage." Charles Aznavour told me that. You make it not because of your parents' success, but in spite of it. That's why so many people who are the sons and daughters of whoever don't make it, because it's too tough. What about Frank Sinatra Jr.?
I recently saw the movie Cabaret again, and it's still amazing. How did you approach the role of Sally?
I thought everybody in Germany looked like Marlene Dietrich. I thought "I'm going to pluck out all my eyebrows and dye my hair blonde." I went to my father, like I usually did, and he showed me all those great stars from the '20s. I saw Louise Brooks and my hair was brunette.
You had a ...recurring role on ...Arrested Development. What was that like?
It was filled with laughter and brilliant minds working together.
Bass Hall, Fort Worth
email@example.comMARK LOWRY, 817-390-7747