Liza Minnelli Stepping Out! 2015

Liza Minnelli Stepping Out! 2015

Saturday, October 17, 2009

After all these years it's still Liza with a zing

A show full of raw and breathless energy ... Liza Minnelli mesmerised the packed Opera House crowd.Photo: Steve Lunam
October 18, 2009
Regal yet humble, the Cabaret star still has energy and talent to enthral her fans, writes Nicholas Pickard.

It's the eyes and the giggle that do it for you - that innocent glare that Liza Minnelli flashes at you to give you a window into the career of a musical star who has been honing her talent for more than 50 years.
The voice has become shaky and the body isn't as agile as it once was but this is Liza - with a Z - and no one in the packed 2000-seat auditorium at the Sydney Opera House was complaining.
When she appeared dressed in her white sequins it felt like the roof of the Opera House was about to lift off. Everyone rose to their feet for the star who first came to Australia with her then husband, Peter Allen, 42 years ago.
But that was then and this is now and, despite her 63 years, it's Minnelli's eyes and her charming giggle that are timeless.
With pianist Billy Stritch and her 11-piece band she pumped out a show full of raw and breathless energy with all the Bob Fosse movements you'd expect. Based on a Tony award-winning show she has performed in New York's Palace Theatre this year, Minnelli was almost giddy as she went from crowd-pleasing show tune to heart-felt love serenade.
New York, New York had parts of the crowd barely able to contain their exhilaration, and Al Jolson's Mammy had people swooning. At one stage a call went out for her to sing Somewhere over the Rainbow - made famous by her mother, Judy Garland, in The Wizard of Oz - but with elegance Minnelli politely declined, saying that ''other people have sung that song''.
Her high notes were often lost and some of the words drowned by the band but not many performers can fill the difficult Concert Hall space like Minnelli can with her raw pizazz and fountain of generosity.
With the audience demanding her return she came back for a second encore dressed in a loose Chet Baker T-shirt with make-up removed and her hair wet from sweat.
She paid tribute to Allen by looking skywards and saying thank you. She then turned to the audience and thanked them. It was a genuine thank you because Minnelli has a humility that is nothing but magically endearing.
But Sydney Opera House management desperately needs to spend a bit of money to properly dress the on-stage entrances and exits in the Concert Hall.
The faded and dusty black cloths, not far removed from ones used by cash-strapped university theatre clubs, were opened manually by backstage crew and looked amateurish beside Minnelli's brilliance.
A performer of her stature deserves much better. After all, she is musical royalty.

No comments: