Sunday, September 5, 2010
Liza Minnelli to Asheville Citizen-Times: 'I'm a modern vaudevillian'
It's Liza on the phone. As in Liza Minnelli, the show business icon, the winner of an Oscar, an Emmy, a Grammy, four Tonys and two Golden Globes.
IF YOU GO
Who: Liza Minnelli.
When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Where: Peace Center, 300 S. Main St., Greenville, S.C.
Tickets: $55-$85. Visit www.peacecenter.org or call 800-888-7768.
You know that voice in a heartbeat. “I'm coming with a whole new show,” she said in a phone interview to promote her Wednesday concert at the Peace Center in Greenville, S.C. “We're putting together the things that make me laugh. It's a show that's a little of everything. I like to surprise people.”
She's touring in advance of a new CD, “Confessions,” being released later this month. It's a collection of lesser-known American Songbook tunes, written by such legends as Jerome Kern, Cy Coleman and Irving Berlin. The Greenville show kicks off the tour.
Minnelli has made a name for herself on stage (“Chicago”) and screen (“Arthur,” “Cabaret,” “The Sterile Cuckoo”). But long before that, the daughter of Judy Garland and the screen director Vincente Minnelli grew up among songwriting legends who gathered at the family home.
Young Liza learned to listen. “Once a week, there would be musical evenings all over town,” she said. “If you grew up in a coal-mining town, people might get together to play cards. Think of Hollywood (as a different kind of) coal-mining town. I would sit under the piano or on the sidelines. I was shy.”
It was those musical evenings that helped inspired “Confessions,” she said. “These are things that mean a great deal to me,” she said. And it's a tradition that she continues today at her New York home. “About every two or three weeks, we get together to eat and entertain each other,” she said.
Those gatherings include the likes of Tony Bennett and Janet Jackson. “They're intimate and very private,” she said. “And that's what this album is. I was nervous about singing those songs. They're not the songs that people are used to hearing me sing.”
But Minnelli has never been afraid to try something different. In 1989, her career was energized in an album with new wave pop stars the Pet Shop Boys. In 1992, she sang with members of the rock band Queen. In 2004-05, she had a recurring role on the TV comedy “Arrested Development” and recorded with the rock band My Chemical Romance. More recently, she did a bit in the latest “Sex and the City” film.
“I think I'm a modern vaudevillian,” she said. “I'm interested in everything that's going on. When someone calls and I find it interesting, I'll do it.”
While busy with the new album and preparing for the tour, Minnelli makes time to see a movie here and there including Leonardo DiCaprio's “Inception.” She's hoping to catch “The Kids are Alright.”
And though she's a household face, Minnelli doesn't mind going out in public.
“I just put on a baseball cap and I go,” she said.