Liza Minnelli Stepping Out! 2015

Liza Minnelli Stepping Out! 2015

Friday, August 8, 2008


Backstage with…Liza Minnelli

You’ve played some iconic New York stages: Radio City Music Hall, the Palace, Carnegie Hall. So what brings you back to Coney Island for a free show?It’s the spirit of the whole thing. You know, everybody’s so happy, and summer is a time of vacation—so maybe people don’t have to be at work the next day and are just ready to have a good time. I used to go to Coney Island as a kid… [Pauses, adopts sad tone] but that’s all gone now, right?
Actually, most of it’s there at least for the rest of the season. The Cyclone and the Wonder Wheel are staying put, and Nathan’s, of course.Oh, far out! I love going to Nathan’s for a=2 0hot dog, with the works!
Nathan’s hot dogs are a great source of protein; a gal’s gotta keep up her energy somehow.And there’s so much dancing in this show! [Laughs] A whole section is based on my godmother, Kay Thompson. She was the best musician anybody had ever met: She changed the sound of music and harmonies; she starred in movies and a nightclub act that knocked everybody’s socks off; she was the [musical director] of MGM and a huge radio star. She had a real Renaissance life. A lot of the music that my godmother did I do in my show, so I jump around quite a bit.
What songs of hers will you do?Well, she was in Funny Face and she sang “Clap Your Hands” with Astaire. And there’s one song of hers that I just love an arrangement of which is, um… [Sings] “Won’t you come and go with me to the Mississippi.” You know, “Basin Street Blues.” We’ll do those for sure.
Are there any songs you feel obligated to sing but you’d rather say, “Oh, the hell with it”?Oh, no! That sounds awful, that’s like spitting in God’s eye! I mean, I’m so lucky. I just feel blessed that I can go on the stage and go in the studio. It’s a rare career I have.
Aside from your godmother, whom do you listen to when you feel like just putting on a record?Maroon 5, Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett. There’s some good rock & roll going around—I’m on a couple of those albums! And then I’ll listen to classical music. I think music illustrates one’s heart. The last thing I listened to on my iPod was this wonderful writer singing a blues song called “A Very Dirty Shade of Blue.” It’s funny! [Giggles]
It’s interesting that you should perform the music of another member of your family circle. Do you find any difference between strictly your fans and those who discovered you through your lineage?You know, they may come for one reason, but they leave with another. As Fred Ebb said, “Whatever brings ’em in, you shouldn’t worry about it. It’s what they think when they go out that’s your problem!”
Liza Minnelli plays the Seaside Summer Concert Series Thu 7.
— Erin Meister

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