June 4, 2010
When you think show-biz soap operas, the life of Liza Minnelli should quickly come to mind.
Her personal life has been tumultuous, but she's a celebrity, baby — a still splashy celebrity.
Minnelli has a Sunday show at the Chicago Theatre, courtesy of Merrillville's Star Productions — the same folks who bring shows to Merrillville's Star Plaza Theatre.
There are reasons why the Windy City — and not Merrillville — got the booking for the Emmy, Tony and Academy Award winner.
"Liza is an icon within the Broadway community, and I think she is extremely popular in urban markets," explained Charlie Blum, president and chief executive officer of Star Productions.
In other words, downtown Chicago screams urban market and Broadway crowd, according to Blum.
For the choicest seats, tickets for Minnelli's performance at the Chicago Theatre exceeded $120, and were the first ones to sell.
That kind of high-end ticket price is probably easier to swallow for a big-city presentation.
As Blum sees it, there has been a payoff for realizing that "her following is Broadway" — that is to say the Broadway-friendly market found in a large urban setting.
"It has worked for us," Blum said in regard to presenting Minnelli at the Chicago Theatre. "It's going to be a very, very successful one-night show."
At the time I was finishing this column earlier in the week, Minnelli's show was not sold out, but ticket sales were going "very well," Blum said.
"She's supporting a new album," Blum, a Dyer resident, added. "It's a more intimate show. It's not with a huge, big band."
Minnelli, instead, will be backed by a quartet, as she sings standards she's known for, along with tracks off her upcoming CD, "Confessions," due in September.
At 64, Minnelli has been a good source for gossip in the tabloids.
Judy Garland's daughter, though, is also a Broadway biggie who had landed a lead role in a musical on the Great White Way by the time she was 19.
Ticket information on Minnelli's 7:30 p.m. Sunday concert is available at www.thechicagotheatre.com or by contacting Ticketmaster, (800) 745-3000.
The Chicago Theatre is at 175 N. State St.