Monday, May 3, 2010
Straight for Equality Honors Liza Minnelli and More
On Saturday, May 1, the Straight for Equality Awards Gala honored Liza Minnelli at the New York Marriott Marquis. Liza Minnelli was presented with the 2010 Straight for Equality in Entertainment Award. This honor recognizes Liza's lifelong role as a Straight Ally of the LGBT community. The event was hosted by comedienne Caroline Rhea, with the live auction hosted by actor and "Amazing Race IV" winner Reichen Lehmkuhl. BroadwayWorld was on hand to celebrate.
At the star-studded evening, Minnelli surprised the crowd and stopped in the middle of her acceptance speech to sing a selection from her forthcoming CD "Confessions."
Straight for Equality is a project of PFLAG National that was launched in 2007 to invite, educate, and empower straight allies to demonstrate their support for their LGBT friends and family. Since its inception, the program has trained more than 3,500 people nationwide through its educational workshops in corporations, healthcare environments, and communities. The Straight for Equality in Entertainment Award was designed to honor a performer and/or artist who has a history of advocating for equality for LGBT people. The first award was presented in 2009 to actress Sigourney Weaver.
Also honored at the ceremony on Saturday was NFL Super Bowl XLIV star, now of the Cleveland Browns Scott Fujita, and international food services corporation Sodexo.
Minnelli began her career at a very early age, co-starring with her mother, Judy Garland, in the movie "In the Good Old Summertime" in 1949. At the age of 10, she hosted the first-ever TV broadcast of "The Wizard of Oz", reaching a viewing audience of about 45 million people. By the time she was 19, she had landed the lead role in "Flora, the Red Menace". This Broadway performance won her a Tony for the Best Actress in a Musical. In 1972, her movie career peaked when she played Sally Bowles in "Cabaret." The film won eight Oscars, including the Best Actress for Liza. The role also earned her a Golden Globe and a British Film Academy Award. Minnelli went on to appear opposite Robert DeNiro in the musical "New York, New York," "Arthur" and Arthur 2 with Dudley Moore in 1981 and 1998, respectively.
Liza added a second Golden Globe to her already impressive list of awards in 1985 wither her performance in "A Time to Live", a made-for-TV movie. Liza returned to the state in December 1999 to pay tribute to her father in a show called "Minnelli on Minnelli" at New York's Palace Theater. In 2008 Liza returned to Broadway with "Liza's at the Palace..." which went on to win the Tony Award for Best Special Theatrical Event, marking her four Tony Award. She recreated the show at the MDM Grand where her performance was filmed for a public television special and a DVD. The show's cast recording was nominated for a Grammy Award.
For more information on Straight for Equality and it's causes visit www.straightforequality.org.
Photo Credit: Linda Lenzi