Liza Minnelli Stepping Out! 2015

Liza Minnelli Stepping Out! 2015

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Liza Stepping Out!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Pedro getting the LIZA experience!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

HAPPY HOLIDAYS " Liza Stepping Out! "


Veteran entertainer LIZA MINNELLI keeps her energy up during gruelling performances of her Broadway show by calling on the memory of her late mother, JUDY GARLAND.Minnelli, 62, cancelled a performance of her critically-acclaimed show Liza's at the Palace earlier this month (10Dec08) "due to health reasons and doctor's orders," according to her spokesperson.The break came one week after she made her debut in the production - marking her first return to Broadway after nearly six years.And Minnelli insists the memory of her legendary mother keeps her pushing through the demanding regime.She tells the New York Post's Page Six magazine, "Every night I feel the emotion and energy of everyone who has played there before me. It may sound crazy, but I feel my mother (Judy Garland), (vaudeville stars) Sophie Ticker, Al Jolson - it gives me goose bumps up there performing. It is so exciting and I celebrate it every night."The production was originally scheduled to run until 14 December (08) but was recently extended through 28 December (08) due to high demand.
12/23/2008 08:22:03 AM

Sunday, December 21, 2008

THE NEW YORK TIMES ~ Liza's Back On Broadway!

Liza Minnelli’s new Broadway show, “Liza’s at the Palace . . .,” opened on Wednesday at the Palace Theater. She is returning to Broadway for the first time in almost a decade.
Photo: Michael Falco for The New York Times

Stephen Holden writes: "A pure entertainer like Ms. Minnelli — and there is none purer — is at once voracious and extravagantly generous. If you’re onstage 24 hours a day, you have no choice but to give life everything you’ve got."
Photo: Michael Falco for The New York Times

"She moved mostly from above the waist, where her signature gestures were intact: an arm flung upward, a flutter of fingers frantically beckoning the audience to ‘come to the cabaret.’"
Photo: Photographs by Michael Falco for The New York Times

"As for movement, there were no kicks or even half-kicks, although Ms. Minnelli can still strut stealthily and sprawl across a director’s chair in sensual abandon."
Photo: Michael Falco for The New York Times

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Liza Minnelli jiving like a panther on Ecstasy and Obama condoms - some bits of history can't be missed

Life & Society
Shazia's week
Shazia Mirza
Published 18 December 2008Nobody does recession like the Americans. Every street corner in New York has neon lights shouting, “Recession Special”. I have never seen so many kebabs on sale. Only the Americans could celebrate a recession with flashing lights and turn it into a marketing opportunity.
And they know how to celebrate. A few hours ago I was walking through Times Square; to mark his victory, people were selling Obama towels, posters, DVDs, books and trainers. But the most inventive that I saw was the Obama condom. People are selling condoms with an image of his head and the slogan: "Yes we can." I bought five boxes - the audacity of hope. Some bits of history just can't be missed.
I went to see Liza Minnelli on Broadway a few nights ago. I thought: "I've got to see her before she dies." There are certain people you have to see, because you don't know how much longer they're going to live, like Tom Jones, Barry Manilow, Barack Obama.
Watching Liza at the Palace Theatre has got to be the gayest thing I have ever seen. There is a recession, but not in the gay world. My gay friends from all over the world came for this momentous occasion, which was akin to the wedding of Charles and Di.
It was like a gay United Nations, and Liza, having married so often, seemed the appropriate compère. At 62, she was jumping and jiving all over the stage like a panther on Ecstasy. On the way out I overheard a woman telling her friend that Liza had had two hip-replacement operations. I can tell you they've definitely worked. It was like Lewis Hamilton winning the Grand Prix in Del Boy's van.
The beggars in New York have gone slightly upmarket since the last time I was here. There is none of this tie-dye, holes-in-shirt, dog-on-a-rope business; these beggars are hot. I have been approached by at least five women in two days who stand on street corners in businesslike suits, black court shoes, red lipstick, nice jewellery and say very politely: "Excuse me, madam, I was wondering if you have any spare money that you could give me?"
I was so shocked, I shouted: "Are you a beggar?" She replied: "I just need a few dollars to get a skinny latte." These beggars are fussy. They don't drink any old coffee. It's very specific.
Friends tell me that these are people who were in good jobs and who have been made redundant, but are still hanging on to their extravagant lifestyle. Begging is the only way to do it. Even in begging, there is a class divide.
I prefer to give my money to people who actually look homeless. A person sleeping in a Safeway trolley with all his or her belongings is a more lucrative advert than a woman in Louboutin heels and nail extensions.
I will be spending Christmas in the seclusion of the village of Castlemartyr, County Cork. I'll be staying in a small cottage; there is no internet, no transport, no street lights and it is, apparently, freezing cold. In preparation for this I have bought three blankets - 15 tog each - and two fleece quilts. But the main problem I've found in segregating myself from society is the purchase of halal meat. I've tried every meat shop in the city to see if I can find a halal chicken for Christmas Day, but it seems the demand for halal meat in Cork is not as high as that for reindeer.
I tried to order a chicken from a shop near to the city. When I called up, the woman said: "What's halal? We only do free range, or we could do you a turkey." I said: "Can you get me a halal turkey? She replied: "No, but I can get you a large one with skin on."
So I'm buying one in the East End and transporting it to Cork. Don't worry, I'll keep it in the boot so it's got some room to roam freely. Happy Xmas to you all - turkey or no turkey.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Jared visits NY to see "Lza's At The Palace! Jared

Jared meets Cortes Alexander
Cortes Alexander
© 2008 Cortés Alexander
Smooth vocals with a pop /jazz/R & B flavor featuring a mix of originals & an eclectic mix of covers

my MySpace page
Cortés Alexander is a California native who has played piano from the age of 8. He's sung in many vocal groups, most notably "The Tonics" who performed at Carnegie Hall & has toured the world as a background vocalist for Liza Minnelli. SWELL is his first solo CD, and it's an eclectic melange of originals & covers with an emphasis on lush vocal harmonies & arrangements. Cortés found his producer (McKay Garner) from a guitar playing pal (Kevin Holmes) who introduced them, & after 2 years, & many drum loops later, SWELL was born. Cortés' music has been described as a cross between Prince, Sinatra, Luther Vandross, Keith Urban, with just that right touch of lounge.

Smooth vocals with a pop /jazz/R & B flavor featuring a mix of originals & an eclectic mix of covers.

"Liza's at the Palace...!"December 12th show review!The question that must be asked first is this, "Was it worth waitingat the Air Port for a delayed plane for four hours just to see thisshow? The answer: HELL YES!!! It was a rough trip getting to NY from Fla. but it was all worth it!Thursday, I arrived at Newark air port four hours later then I wassuppose to and was so anxious for the next day. I woke up extremelyearly on Friday morning, the day of the show was soooooo anxiouslyawaiting 8 PM! Around six I came into the city and met up with my two friends andthen headed over to The Palace... I purchased the souvenir program,t-shirt, sweater, and the new album that I have been waiting two years for I think they gave me something for free without realizing it.... Oh well, anyway... The C.D. Is amazing! I am really happy that there are new songs andour favorite old songs rerecorded on the C.D. I am very please withthe recordings of the Kay act above all! It was done so beautifully .So we took our seats, people behind us wouldn't shut the heck up...The show opened with the New York, New York overture which I love!Then Liza went right into singing one of my new favorite songs, "Teachme tonight". The first act was great! I got emotional when Liza song"Maybe this time" as I often do and then, finally the second act cameand it was OUT OF THIS WORLD! I've seen pieces of it while Liza andthe boys were on tour, and they have really done a great job atcreating a Broadway masterpiece that will definitely win a Tony!The best thing that happened that whole night was what happened at thestage door...I got to meet my new friend, Cortes Alexander who plays Don Williamsin Liza's act and he recognized me right away! He even seemed so happyto see me! He is such a great guy. He signed my copy of his solo album"Swell" and took a photo with me. The rest of the night I couldn'tstop saying, "Oh wow I met Cortes." It was so great!On Monday night I was going to meet my friends some where on 42nd whenmy attention was caught by Birdland. I was like, "oh wow I've alwayswanted to go there." So I made my way over to the place which at firstlooked closed, then I saw that there was a show that evening in justtwenty min! I text messaged my friend and told him he should meet methere. Then all of a sudden, Cortes walks up to me from out of knowwhere and I was like in complete shock! Of course he recognized meright away and shook my hand. He is such a great guy! He told me thatLiza had called him and told him to meet him there that evening. Hewent inside and my friend finally got in touch with me and told methat he was going to be a while but to go ahead and get a tableanyway. So I went inside and sat down by myself and as I'm sittingdrinking my diet coke, Liza walks in and sits with Cortes right acrossfrom me. I nearly died! It was such a funny coincidence! I was hoping to say hello to Liza after the show, but unfortunatelyshe had already gone. Then I went out side to call my uncle to tellhim where I was and that I'm okay, then some weirdo came up to me andtried to sell me pot which I thought was really funny and said, "Nothank you" and said, "Get me the heck outta here" I went back insideto Birdland and bumped into Jim Caruso who remembered me from talkingto him before online. He was so nice and I told him what a wonderfulthing he has going on here. "Jim Caruso's cast party." For those whodon't know already. So overall it was a pretty "Swell" trip and I was so glad to meetCortes! xoxo jared

Monday, December 15, 2008

Liza's at The Palace ~ December 14, 2008 by Samy

artwork by samymiro...for LIZA, inspiried by her trademark lps and poster ads.
Seeing "Liza's At The Palace" December 14, was an event, this was Liza in peak form in a performance I would consider on the level of a Broadway show in every aspect. Liza looking and sounding sensational, her timing was flawless, the voice was pure magic, aside from doing her signature numbers at their best she then transformed herself acting out beautiful versions of new songs and standards...the Kay Thompson tribute Liza completely turns the show around and brings you to another place, you are reliving her experiences with Kay, just briliant. Liza Minnelli had the audience in her hands & and she pulled out every stop. To me "Liza's at The Palace" is her "Carnegie Hall"...the cd is one of her best works and I agree with Gary a Tony & Grammy would be well deserved. The entire production from start to finished with the excellent Billy Stritch, & the wonderful back up singer ~ dancers Cortes Alexander, Jim Caruso, Tiger Martina and Johnny Rodgers playing The Williams Bros. to the band & the lighting, not to mention Liza's moves, the lady still can dance like no one else, this has to be the hottest show on Broadway this season. Thanks again to Gary for being such a fun & loving friend and great seeing Shannon & Danny!
To Liza, a night I will never forget, I love you, Sammy.

Gary And Sammy see Liza At the palace! by GARY!

Hi gang I only have a few short minutes so here is a brief Review for our trip to see Liza at The Palace. We were both spellbound. If you havent seen Liza lately or even if you saw here in Florida or Europe you havent seen nuttin yet!! She was the best Ihave seen here in years she looked and sounded stupendous and put on the best show I have seen since maybe the 70's. For those of you who have not been thrilled with the Kay Thompson section you should see how polished and organized it is now. The orchestra is 12 pieces of POW, the lighting is glorious, the dancers are perfect and Liza should get a special Tony for this. She is a testament to discipline and going forward in life and as Obama says YES WE CAN well YES SHE DID!! The first act was Liza with the band in a gorgeous white outfit singing her heart out and included two new ballads What Makes A Man A Man and sorry I forgot the second title.When she sang Maybe This time sitting down it was the best version I have heard in years. I could go on and I will. By the time she got to Cabaret the audience was in a frenzy. She topped herself with the famous garland Palace medley which she dedicated to her mom with a brand new set of opening lyrics. There were tears in the audience I know I was crying. Then Jared, I loaded up on gorgeous souveniers and have no regrets about the 100.00 bucks I spent. The second Act started out with Liza doing the most powerful And the World Goes Round I have heard in years, followed by the Kay Thompson section which was tighter and more cohesive then any time I saw it previously. The sweat from Liza was palpable but what a trouper. When she finally got To NY NY she stunned us all by going to the higher double version and NAILING IT!!!!!. The audience would not let her go. Oh I forgot she wore a black outfit with legs up to her chest followed in the final section with a gorgeous Red outfit. Since they wouldnt let her off the stage and the orchestra was gone. She came out to the piano with Billy Stritch and sang not I 'll be Seeing you but HAVE yourself a Merry Little Xmas which brought more tears and then said a quite Merry Xmas to everyone and then she was gone. Oh during the show she kept saying I'm at the Palace I'm at the Palace which endeared her even more to all of us. The Liza glow will stay with me for a long time to come. Since Sammy had not seen her on a proper theatre and on a real stage before he was in awe. Could you blame him? I have signed up for a lottery on If Ishould win ha ha I will RUN not Walk back to the theatre for more. If I can think of more details about this wonderful day I will post later forgive the typing errors I know you get the gist. Did we like it HELL WE LOOOOOVED it Liza please keep going we are sooooooooo proud of you. all my love Gary S from TBA. PS if it tours near you Bradly and Bryan are you listening DONT MISS THIS ONE. though Sammy and I already bought the CD it will be available online soon and at the stores in February. Sammy please feel free to add your thoughts. by The Musicman Gary Smiler

Friday, December 12, 2008


Last updated: 11:07 amDecember 5, 2008 Posted: 12:19 amDecember 5, 2008
IT may be time for a moratorium on Liza Minnelli's career death watch. This in defatigable performer has endured so many problems - personal and physical - and has had so many comebacks that, in terms of sheer drama, she's outdone her famous mother.
Now, six years after her last triumphant appearances at the Beacon, she's back on Broadway, in the same theater Judy Garland played decades ago.
Sorry to disappoint all you vultures out there, but she's done it again: "Liza's at the Palace . . . !" is the sort of late-career triumph of which show-business mythology is made.
Looking and sounding better than she has in years, the 62-year-old delivers a knockout show that combines many of her best-known hits with a loving tribute to her godmother, Kay Thompson.
Sure, the machinery creaks a little. The voice doesn't have the range or power it once had, and at one point she seemed to nearly collapse after a particularly vigorous dance number. But the visible effort she puts in actually works to her advantage, lending the proceedings a heroic quality that only accentuates the emotional impact of her resurrection.
From her dramatic entrance - in which she's seen in silhouette striking her iconic pose, arm outstretched - to the touching finale in which she performs her mother's trademark "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," the show's been staged by veteran director/choreographer Ron Lewis for maximum effect.
Numbers such as the new "I Would Never Leave You," a musical love letter to her loyal fans, and the hilarious "If You Hadn't But You Did," in which she mimes shooting a philandering lover and then casually stepping over his dead body, cannily reference her personal travails. She also notes the "extensive research" that went into her choice of songs about falling out of love, and pauses, for comic effect, when singing the lyric about "pills and liquor" in "Cabaret."
True, the Thompson salute, which features a quartet of mature male singer/dancers in a re-creation of her legendary cabaret act, goes on a little too long. But Minnelli displays a newly sensitive interpretive power in such songs as Charles Aznavour's "What Makes a Man a Man." And when she delivers signature numbers such as that anthem of survival "And the World Goes 'Round" and, of course, the classic "New York, New York," she blends her life and her art in the way that only a true legend can.
LIZA'S AT THE PALACE . . . ! Palace Theatre, 1564 Broadway; 212-307-4100. Through Dec. 28.

The Footlights: 'Liza's at the Palace...'

Dec 10, 2008, 05:00 PM by Jason Clark
There are few things more embarrassing than telling a theater colleague you've never seen Liza Minnelli perform live on a stage. It's akin to telling someone you've never ingested food. Sure, I know her film work, which I am in tremendous admiration of (especially this, one of the great movies of all time). But the reverence to Liza (with a Z, not Lisa with an "S") was never truly justified to me...until Dec. 3, the opening night of her new musical revue, Liza’s at the Palace... (playing until Dec. 28 at Broadway’s Palace Theatre, and a fantastic holiday present for that special show queen someone).
At a fighting trim 62 years old, she’s the same Halston-attired pixie we remember, and yes, she still sounds like this South Park character in terms of diction. Try to imagine her saying “Champs Elysees”, as she does once in this show. [Stifling giggles.] But for two hours and 20 minutes, tearing into both her own songbook and that of her beloved godmother Kay Thompson (who also authored the Eloise children’s book series), she lifts all 1,700+ seats in the venue into the rafters, even while sitting. (“Remember when I used to sit during the second act?”, she quips, “now I sit during the first...I’m old!”)
Nobody knows Liza’s camp value better than Liza herself, which is why we can’t help but adore her (catcalls of “I love you, Liza!” occurred at least three times on opening night). When she breathlessly (literally) bellowed “Cabaret”, she took a cheeky, audience-winking pause after the line “that’s what comes from too much pills and liquor.” And her signature double takes (which I'd only observed on celluloid and TV, one must remember) are still sharp, especially when mentioning husbands of the past (even she knows the last one was high comedy to us all).
By the time she capped the evening with a gentle, crowd-cradling version of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” seemingly done on the spry, yours truly had eyes as wet as Liza’s hair, tamped down by the sheer energy she exuded to the starry audience members (Shirley MacLaine, Mary-Louise Parker, Cheyenne Jackson and Sandra Bernhard, among them), and despite that generous mix, I think one thing could mutually be agreed upon: We were all there to Love Liza.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

"Liza's At The Palace...." Extends Broadway Engagement AGAIN! thru January 4th

Due to rave reviews & overwhelming demand...1 more week thru January 4thPalace Theatre Tickets for add'l. performances go on-sale December 12thDue to rave reviews and overwhelming demand, "Liza's at the Palace...." the new hit show starring Liza Minnelli will play an additional week of performances at Broadway's Palace Theatre (Broadway & 47th Street). The engagement is now scheduled to play through January 4th---surpassing the originally announced closing date of December 28th. The extension includes evening (8PM) performances on Tuesday, Decembe r 30th, Friday, January 2nd and Saturday January 3rd plus a final matinee performance on Sunday, January 4th at 3 PM. Produced by John Scher/Metropolitan Talent Presents & Jubilee Time Productions and directed and choreographed by Ron Lewis, the evening features many of her personal favorites and signature hits, followed by a dance-filled tribute to the groundbreaking late-1940s nightclub act of Minnelli's godmother, Kay Thompson. Gary Labriola serves as Executive Producer.Along with a twelve-man orchestra led by conductor/drummer Michael Berkowitz and pianist/musical supervisor Billy Stritch, “Liza’s At The Palace…. is highlighted with many of Liza’s showstoppers such as “Cabaret,” “Maybe This Time,” and “New York New York” – as well as songs by Charles Aznavour, Roger Edens, John Kander, Johnny Rodgers, Billy Stritch and David Zippel.For the first time onstage, Liza pays an affectionate salute to her godmother, the late Kay Thompson who was a ground-breaking vocal arranger and musical director/vocal coach at MGM Studios. Supported by a quartet of dynamic singer/dancers, Liza performs musical numbers (with the original vocal arrangements) from Thompson’s historic act with The Williams Brothers. Songs include “I Love a Violin,” “Clap Yo’ Hands,” “Jubilee Time,” and “Hello Hello” – set to brand new staging and choreography by Mr. Lewis.=2 0Accompanying her onstage is Cortes Alexander, Jim Caruso, Tiger Martina and Johnny Rodgers.With additional material by David Zippel, the concert performance features scenery by Ray Klausen, costumes by Roy Frowick Halston, lighting by Matt Berman and sound by Matt Krauss. .Liza Minnelli was born in Los Angeles and made her screen debut as a toddler in the musical In the Good Old Summertime in 1949. One of the world’s best-loved entertainers, she won Tony awards for Flora, the Red Menace in 1965 and The Act in 1978, along with a third for Best Personal Achievement, resulting from her 1974 engagement at the Winter Garden Theatre. Nominated for an Academy Award® for The Sterile Cuckoo (1969), she won the best actress prize for her best-known film, Cabaret (1972), which also won her a Golden Globe Award and a BAFTA. She won an Emmy for Liza with a20'Z' (1972) and was also the recipient of a Grammy Legend Award in 1989, making her one of the few artists who have won entertainment's top six awards. Liza has also been the recipient of three David di Donatello Awards – for The Sterile Cuckoo (1969), Cabaret (1972) and Lifetime Achievement (2002). Film credits include Charlie Bubbles (1968), Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon (1970), Lucky Lady (1975), A Matter of Time (1976), New York, New York (1977), Arthur (1981) Stepping Out (1991), and The Oh In Ohio (2006). Liza recently attracted an entirely new generation of fans with her acclaimed turn as "Lucille 2" on the Emmy-winning Best Comedy Arrested Development, and for her appearance on the chart-topping album The Black Parade by My Chemical Romance. For the latest on Liza, visit her website Lewis has been a staple on the Las Vegas scene for decades and has worked with Liza since 1970. (Liza credits him with “winning her the Tony” for her performance in “The Act” on Broadway.) Having worked on over 80 productions, Lewis has directed/choreographed shows for some of the biggest names in show business including Ann-Margret, Debbie Reynolds, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Paul20Anka.“Liza’s At The Palace….” plays the following performance schedule at the Palace Theatre (Broadway & 47th Street) : Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 8PM with matinees on Sundays at 3PM. PLEASE NOTE: on Wednesday, December 24th there will be a special 3PM matinee performance and no 8PM evening show. In addition: there will be no performance on December 31st. Tickets prices range from $125 to $55. (***Upon special request by Liza--- $25 seats will be made available at box office by daily lottery. **** For more information and tickets by phone Tickets: 212-307-4100 or 800-755-4000 or log onto:

Music Review: Liza Minnelli - The Complete A&M Recordings

Written by The Other Chad Published December 11, 2008
People who know me are usually shocked to discover I like Liza Minnelli, as if all her fans fit the exactly same profile. She is a polarizing artist, to say the least, and I've found that many people who despise the woman actually know very little of her work. Minnelli certainly hasn't remained blameless in the tarnishing of her reputation, with many distasteful tabloid headlines to her credit. But when friends ask me where my appreciation for Minnelli comes from, I've always directed them to the most underrated film in Martin Scorsese's filmography, New York, New York. In that generally overlooked 1977 gem, Minnelli held her own against Robert De Niro at his peak — no small accomplishment - while delivering sassy, swinging vocals on a number of songs. Next, I point the Liza-doubters towards the short-lived TV show Arrested Development, which featured Minnelli in the brilliantly played recurring role of Lucille Austero.
If those examples aren't enough evidence of her value for the non-showtune fanatic, I suggest the newly released The Complete A&M Recordings. This double-CD collects four Minnelli albums originally released between 1968 and 1972. The music has been carefully remastered for this package, which marks the first time Minnelli's entire A&M catalog has been released on CD. Extensive liner notes provide background information about the recordings, placing them in proper context within her career. Over the course of 51 songs (which includes several bonus tracks), a surprising amount of stylistic ground is covered. In other words, it isn't just for lovers of Broadway.
The first ten tracks on disc one are the entirety of 1968's Liza Minnelli, her A&M debut. Released when Minnelli was just 21 years old, the album is a relatively low key affair. A variety of styles are touched upon, while remaining categorizable as 'middle of the road' pop. There are a few nice readings of Randy Newman tunes, "The Debutante's Ball," "Happyland," and "So Long Dad." The Lennon/McCartney classic "For No One" receives an interesting treatment. In this melodramatic interpretation, the song's unique second-person perspective is replaced by a more conventional third-person approach. Other songs found here would later become concert showstoppers, such as "My Mammy" and "Married/You Better Sit Down, Kids," both of which reappear on disc two.
Five bonus tracks follow Liza Minnelli, including anot her Randy Newman song, "Snow." My favorites are the four bossa nova tracks featuring Brazilian musician/singer/composer Luiz Henrique. These songs are so spare in their acoustic arrangements, and Minnelli's delivery so subtly nuanced, that they are perhaps the highlights of the entire collection. None of the brassy, Broadway-styled belting so associated with Minnelli is found in these intimate, demo-like outtakes. Best of all is the reinterpretation of the 1927 chestnut "I'm Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover," during which Minnelli lets slip an embarrassed chuckle as she loses her timing momentarily. These Latin flavored performances are so delicate and refreshingly spontaneous sounding, I wish she had done more like them.
1969's Come Saturday Morning makes up the final eleven tracks on disc one, and they are similar in mood and atmosphere to the first album. A number of well known pop John Denver's "Leavin' On a Jet Plane" is among the pop tunes covered. Other well-known tunes include "MacArthur Park" and a bright and sunny romp through Gordon Lightfoot's "Wherefore and Why." Aretha Franklin's "Don't Let Me Lose This Dream" is another particular highlight. The Randy Newman songbook is again revisited, this time with "Love Story." All told, disc one is a quietly effective collection of easy listening mainstream pop.
Moving on to the second disc, 1970's New Feelin' brings something entirely different to the table. The idea here was to take standards from the Great American Son gbook and update them with groove oriented arrangements. It's an interesting approach that sometimes come across as slightly corny. After all, we're not talking about James Brown by any means. Even so, Minnelli's go-for-broke takes on "Come Rain or Come Shine" and "The Man I Love," which are impressive examples of stretching artistically. This is the material that will most surely surprise those with strong preconceived notions about her style.
After a few more bonus tracks, including a pair of lovely Burt Bacharach tunes, the collection arrives at Liza Minnelli as most people envision her: brassy, gaudy, a bit over arranged, and live on stage. Live At the Olympia In Paris finds Minnelli in front of an appreciative French audience, putting on what was probably a dazzling show. Of course, hearing the recording is only half the experience. Minnelli works a stage so well, it's better to have the accompanying visuals. Nevertheless, plenty of the music captured on this 1972 release is worth hearing. "My Mammy" is the stand-out, though not as dynamic as some versions I've heard. A fairly garish medley of "Everybody's Talking" and "Good Morning Starshine" tries slightly too hard — and those two songs don't work well together. An all-French version of "Liza With a Z" is a fun novelty. Ultimately this might please Broadway fans the most, but I enjoyed it least among the four albums collected.
For Minnelli fans, The Complete A&M Recordings is a dream come true and20worth every penny. As for those who believe she is an artist who appeals to an extremely narrow demographic, there is ample evidence to the contrary within these two discs. This release proves her to be a unique interpreter of material from sometimes surprising sources.


December 11, 2008 --
"SHE'S the last legend working on Broadway," gushed one hyperventilating fan as Liza Minnelli drew repeated standing ovations Tuesday at the Palace. There wasn't a dry eye in the house when the mascara'd moppet belted her mother Judy Garland's anthem, "When you play the Palace, you know you've got it made." Backstage after the show, Liza and her brain trust, Billy Stritch and Ron Lewis, accepted air kisses from Candice Bergen and Marshall Rose, Jane Krakowski, Tommy Tune, Denise Rich and Richard Turley

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Liza Minnelli & Castmates pedals Snowmobike at 'Liza's at The Palace' to power the 2009 new year display~ Times Square, Duracell Power Lodge New York

Liza Minnelli Lights Up the New Year " benefits the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.* ~ VIDEO

Liza Minnelli is in the holiday spirit, and she's sharing it with New York!
ET was with the singer and her Broadway cast of Liza's At the Palace as they hopped on "snowmobikes" to help Duracell capture power that will illuminate the numerals 2-0-0-9 as the New Year's Ball drops. Liza and her cast are a part of the event because it benefits the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
"What happens is whoever is riding these bikes here ... it is storing energy that on New Year's Eve, coming into 2009, will light up Times Square," Liza tells ET. "Anybody can come down here and pedal and be a part of something that will go on forever."
During the month of December, you can catch Liza and her Broadway show at the Palace Theatre, where the singer performs many of her showstoppers including "Cabaret" and "New York, New York."

Liza Minnelli Pays Tribute to Kay Thompson

KAY THOMPSON Best known today as the creator of 'Eloise,' Thompson, above, had a hit nightclub act.

'If artistically you are able to do one thing," Kay Thompson said in a 1957 interview, "you are more than likely able to do them all." It was a distinctly curious observation, borne out by few -- apart from the speaker herself. Thompson, whose life and music are being celebrated by her goddaughter Liza Minnelli in her show at the Palace Theatre, is best known to posterity as the creator of the series of children's books starring Eloise, one of the major literary characters of the baby boom. But for much of her long life, which stretched from 1909 to 1998, Thompson was active as a vocalist, vocal arranger, choir leader, composer, lyricist, actress and comedienne.

At the Palace, Ms. Minnelli describes her godmother as "a life force" and "a true Renaissance woman." Ms. Minnelli's connection to Thompson runs deep: Thompson first began working with Ms. Minnelli's mother, Judy Garland, on the radio in the late 1930s. She frequently scored the vocal parts for Garland in the classic movie musicals of the 1940s and played a large part in the success of such Garland standards as "On the Atchison, Topeka, and the Sante Fe."
Thompson and Garland were also best friends; Ms. Minnelli speaks of how, when she made her stage debut at age 13, Garland and Thompson both wept uncontrollably when Ms. Minnelli did her 22-second solo dance. When Garland died nine years later, Thompson was the first friend at Ms. Minnelli's side. Michael Feinstein, who co-produced Ms. Minnelli's new album, told me that her current show "is the most personal of all because of her tribute to Kay. Perhaps it's odd at first glance to think that it's more personal than a tribute to her mother or father might be. But Kay's work envelops her parents' legacy and also encapsulates the many years that Liza spent with Kay in her formative years."
Apart from her successes as a vocal arranger and author (and a fashion designer and interior decorator), Thompson enjoyed an intermittent career as a performer, most famously in one of the last great Hollywood musicals, the 1957 "Funny Face." But "I always thought, when I was little, that I was ugly," she said in 1937; this was hardly the self-image one needs for a singing career. Born and raised in Missouri, she later said "I was a stage-struck kid and I got out of St. Louis fast." At age 19, Thompson arrived in Hollywood but learned the hard way that she didn't have the looks to get work in the movies -- even as a comic.
Within a few years, however, Thompson was a major presence on the radio, singing initially on a show starring the famous Mills Brothers -- the first of many vocal groups she would be associated with. She recorded in the mid-1930s, as a soloist (backed up, on one session, by her first husband, trombonist Jack Jenney); a "canary" (as they were referred to) with several different dance bands; and as leader and principal singer with vocal groups both male and female. (Most of her surviving recordings from this period are on "The Queen of Swing Vocal," a 2002 CD on Baldwin Street Music.)
In 1942, both Thompson and an early member of her ensemble, singer and composer Hugh Martin, joined the dream team assembled by producer Arthur Freed for such classics as "Meet Me in St. Louis" and "The Harvey Girls." However, she was restless to face the footlights again. She told Time magazine in 1947 that she would audition a chart for Freed and he would respond, "Kay, you sang that great, you are terrific. Now -- who will we get to sing it?"
In the summer of 1946, Thompson had time on her hands while waiting for a divorce in Reno, and she used it to write a nightclub act. A few months later she opened at Ciro's in Hollywood, backed by The Williams Brothers vocal quartet (including future superstar Andy Williams), and was an instant sensation. As she described it in Time: "We're five very virile people. Everything we do is to the hilt. If it's a chord, it's the most beautiful chord. If it's a dance, it's the most exciting dance. It's dizzy-making -- loaded with personality. It's rhythm, energy, humor, vitality, and sex, all wangled into one." Apart from her looks, Thompson did not lack for self-esteem, but the press agreed. Walter Winchell called it "the greatest act in history."
The centerpiece of "Liza's at the Palace" (which runs at least through Dec. 28) is a segment of six Thompson specialties, in which Ms. Minnelli is accompanied by a male quartet that includes Birdland regulars Jim Caruso and Johnny Rodgers, along with her longtime accompanists drummer Mike Berkowitz and pianist Billy Stritch. Using standards ("Basin Street Blues"; "Clap Yo' Hands," which Thompson later sang with Fred Astaire in "Funny Face") as well as Thompson originals ("Violin") as starting points, Thompson created (and Ms. Minnelli recreates) full-scale production numbers that not only add elaborate introductions and frames to the songs but recompose them, much the way an instrumental jazz arranger would. Indeed, a fast, swinging beat and the jazz-inspired concept of extreme interpretation animate much of Thompson's writings, particularly on a gospel-driven original like "Jubilee Time." The pieces require so much energy that even the tireless Ms. Minnelli is frequently left gasping for breath.
Thompson's arrangements show that Broadway and Swing Street could intersect in ways beyond geography. Unfortunately, she kept the act on the road only until 1953, during which time it was never sufficiently documented on recordings or film. She went back to work in Hollywood and eventually on "Eloise," and lived to be almost 90; 2009 marks the start of her centennial. As recounted in the Palace show, Kay Thompson summarized her life as "A lot of luck, a lot of joy, and a whole lot of tra-la-la."
Mr. Friedwald is the author of seven books on music and popular culture.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Liz Smith: Another Op'nin', Another Show, Another Triumph for Liza

"I’d walk a million miles, for one of those smiles, from my Mammmmmmmyyyy!!”It was goose-bump central as Liza Minnelli stood alone onstage, beautifully lit, drenched with sweat and belted out the old Al Jolson standard. Liza has performed this before, always to great effect — come on, she’s singing a song about “my mammy,” and we all know who Liza’s mammy was. But this time, she sang it on the stage of the great Palace Theater on old Broadway, where her mother had triumphed years ago. The choice of this song was even more powerful, because Liza had also decided to include in her new act Judy Garland’s famous “Palace” medley. Yes, it was an obvious banking on nostalgia, but it was in no way a cheap channeling of mom, with whom she shares so many personal and artistic similarities. It is the act of a wise woman embracing her history, honoring it. I’m not ashamed to say — I cried.This new show, “Liza’s at the Palace,” also pays spectacular homage to her godmother, Kay Thompson — a chanteuse deluxe, a great innovator in nightclubs who did things onstage that had never been seen before. (There are also poignant, from-the-heart anecdotes about how Thompson gave Liza, who grew up far too swiftly, much needed confidence.)I wrote the other day I’d be sitting in the audience, thrilled but wracked with nerves, because thrills and nerves are what Liza brings onstage. It’s always a tightrope act.You root for her, but swear you can’t be moved by her again, you’ve seen her little ways — the gasping, giggling mannerisms, the “acting” that goes on a bit too long. But damn it all, this girl (I don’t care if she’s 62, Liza is the eternal gamine!) pulls it off, again and again.She grows in power and control as the show progresses, which seems to defy logic. She trots out many of the hits she must perform, or the house will riot — “Maybe This Time,” “The World Goes Round," "Cabaret,” “New York, New York.” I always think I could live forever without hearing Liza sing this latter number. But by the time she got to it, she had so energized herself and the audience, it was as if she’d composed the famous Manhattan shout-out right on the spot. And Liza’s thoughtful tribute to John Kander, who wrote for her, was so simple and perfect!Her opening number was “Teach Me Tonight” on which she sounded very sexy and Lena Horne-ish. Her second was a blatant appeal to her fanatical admirers, “I Would Never Leave You.” She is in superb shape, slender, beautifully dressed and the lighting is a miracle. Onstage, even from the second row, Liza appears about 35. And vibrantly healthy. If she doesn’t move with the agility of former times, it is close enough; her command of her body is an astounding act of will. And she makes fun of age and exhaustion in a charming manner.The show looks rich. Director/choreographer Ron Lewis spent quite a lot of money to showcase his legend. And it is perfectly executed and rehearsed. There’s not one careless, sloppy moment. It is a seamless night of entertainment.——————————But for me — and others who don’t know “squat” about Kay Thompson — Liza’s second act, in which she recreates some of her mentor’s nightclub numbers, are the artistic heart and soul of the show.I saw Kay Thomspon’s act with the Williams Brothers. (One of whom was Andy Williams, who went on to his own singular fame.) It was fantastic; Kay was fantastic, a “life force” as Liza describes her — all things outré, soigné, bawdy, grand, inventive.

Liza’s three “Kay numbers” — “Jubilee Time,” Clap Yo’ Hands” and “I Love a Violin” — transported me back to a golden era in live performing. Although Liza emerged onstage, wearing a glittery little blouse, sheer black hose and sexy boots, she got right down to business “doing Kay” — the sweeping gestures, the whooping sounds, the lazy drawl that shot up and down unexpectedly. Liza is given glorious support by Cortes Alexander, Jim Caruso, Tiger Martina and Johnny Rodgers as the “new” Williams Brothers. These guys are out of this world, so sexy, assured, amusing, all equipped with rich melding voices, and dance skills to die for. Liza’s old friend, pianist, arranger Billy Stritch, also jumps in on one of the numbers. He is great too! (It was into Billy’s arms that an exhausted Liza collapsed during the thunderous, endless ovation and screams for “more, more, more!” Their love for one another was obvious. And then Liza recovered, and gave ‘em more, more more!)The emotion, the history, the tenacity, the glamour and vibrancy of Liza Minnelli — just when you think she has finally depleted, like a great oil well sputtering down, out comes another gusher. The smell of greasepaint was thick in the air, from the moment she took the stage — “will she be alright?” — to her last triumphant pose as the curtains closed — “Oh, my God, she did it, she did it!”Liza Minnelli — they broke, stepped on and ground up the mold when they made her. Her life and career has been a roller coaster, and perhaps will be again. Right now she is standing in the brightest light, at her best, giving and receiving the love she values most.Liza closes, finally, with another of her mother’s classic songs, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” The sound from the audience was one collective sigh. Please don’t miss Liza in her three weeks at the Palace. It is magic. It is theater. It is showbiz beyond the pale. It doesn’t get any better.

MORE ON 'Liza's at the Palace...!' To Godmother, Old Chum

Published: December 5, 2008
I wish I had met Kay Thompson, the creative whirlwind who inspirits the second act of Liza Minnelli’s new show, “Liza’s at the Palace ...,” or simply had the chance to sit at her feet and absorb her presence. From the moment Ms. Minnelli joins forces with a male singing and dancing quartet to resurrect parts of a famous nightclub act Thompson created in the late 1940s and early ’50s with the Williams Brothers, the Palace Theater blasts off into orbit.

Michael Falco for The New York Times
Resurrecting parts of a nightclub act from the 1940s and ’50s: Liza Minnelli at the Palace with a singing and dancing quartet.
There it remains, deliriously spinning until the end of a 2-hour-20-minute show (with intermission) that leaves the star in a state of breathless exaltation. The end of the opening-night show on Wednesday found Ms. Minnelli panting, drenched in sweat, her hair matted, as if she had just finished running the New York marathon, which in a sense she had.
Thompson, Ms. Minnelli’s godmother and a pal of Judy Garland’s, died in 1998. But Thompson, also the author of the “Eloise” books, can be glimpsed via as an elegantly dizzy dame cavorting in production numbers from vintage TV variety shows. In the 1957 movie “Funny Face,” her character, a fashion magazine editor who suggests a hybrid of Auntie Mame and Diana Vreeland, sings and dances and nearly steals the movie from Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire. But Ms. Minnelli’s tribute to a woman she calls her “sophisticated fairy godmother” soundly trumps everything I’ve seen of Thompson.
But even in today’s climate of omnivorous video recording, it is useful to remember that nightclub acts remain evanescent, word-of-mouth events, percolating under the cultural radar. So who knows how accurate these re-creations may be?
It is enough to say that beginning with Thompson’s song “Jubilee Time” and running through “I Love a Violin,” Ms. Minnelli and the quartet execute production numbers that are the last word in modern pop-jazz virtuosity from an era when the term modern meant sleek, cool, jet-propelled sophistication. Clad in identical black suits, white shirts and skinny ties, delivering impeccable, jazz-inflected barbershop harmonies as they swoop and glide, Johnny Rodgers, Cortes Alexander, Jim Caruso and Tiger Martina perform astounding feats of singing and dancing coordination. They are assisted on the piano by Billy Stritch, who breaks in to provide creamy vocal fills.
Their mile-a-minute rendition of the Gershwins’ “Clap Yo’ Hands” has the furious velocity and compression of a jazz-flavored rap. The director Ron Lewis’s choreography belongs to the vintage variety-show sort, but is stripped of clichés to the point that it transmits joy and enthusiasm to the audience like an electric charge.
I would love to report that Ms. Minnelli’s voice and physical agility have been magically restored to their former glory, but those days seem to be gone. On Wednesday night her voice was in tatters, her diction unsteady. When she belted, her wide vibrato wobbled to the breaking point. Most of her s’s were slurred sh’s. Frequently short of breath, she swallowed phrases. Many of her highest notes were dry, piercing caws.
But there were still occasional moments of beautifully focused dramatic singing. She wrung every drop of emotion from “He’s Funny That Way,” turning the phrase “crazy for me” into a sweetly exultant cry.
As for movement, there were no kicks or even half-kicks, although Ms. Minnelli can still strut stealthily and sprawl across a director’s chair in sensual abandon. She moved mostly from above the waist, where her signature gestures were intact: an arm flung upward, a flutter of fingers frantically beckoning the audience to “come to the cabaret.”
Once the show began to soar, though, Ms. Minnelli’s force of will became a triumph of spirit over flesh. As she insisted on doing what she can no longer do, her audacity was inspiring: her message was you do the best you can, and if you have to, fake it. She trusted the listener’s imagination to fill in the blanks.
Ms. Minnelli’s stage philosophy, after all, comes from the perspective of someone who grew up in a show business bubble and may never have questioned that life is a never-ending performance starring oneself. Within that bubble, catchphrases like “life is a cabaret, old chum,” and “the show must go on” make perfect sense and become poignant imperatives. As the years pass, Ms. Minnelli, now 62, seems increasingly aware that she is one of the last of a hardy vaudeville breed and the foremost custodian of that tradition. The high point of the first act was a revised version of a vaudeville tribute her mother performed at the Palace.
A pure entertainer like Ms. Minnelli — and there is none purer — is at once voracious and extravagantly generous. If you’re onstage 24 hours a day, you have no choice but to give life everything you’ve got. That was a belief Thompson instilled in her, Ms. Minnelli declared, as if it were gospel arriving from on high.
By Liza Minnelli and David Zippel; directed and choreographed by Ron Lewis; conducted by Michael Berkowitz; musical supervisor, Billy Stritch; sets by Ray Klausen; costumes by Roy Frowick Halston; lighting by Matt Berman; sound by Matt Krauss. Presented by John Scher/Metropolitan Talent Presents and Jubilee Time Productions. At the Palace Theater, Broadway at 47th Street; (212) 307-4100. Through Dec. 28. Running time: 2 hours.
WITH: Liza Minnelli; Cortes Alexander, Jim Caruso, Tiger Martina and Johnny Rodgers.