Wednesday, September 29, 2010
SCENE + HEARD: Liza Minnelli "Confesses" to Fans and Insiders at Intimate Listening Party for Her New Album
It may have been a soggy Monday in Manhattan, but that didn’t stop New Yorkers from coming out to see one of the grand dames of showbusiness, Liza Minnelli. The Gramercy Park Hotel's Rose Bar hosted an intimate gathering to celebrate the release of Ms. Minnelli’s new CD, Confessions, a collection of some of her favorite songs. The album was inspired by evenings Liza, 64, used to have at her house. “People like Tony Bennett—or more surprising people like Janet Jackson—would come by and we would end up singing around the piano,” she told us.
The informal party attracted a broad audience, showing Liza’s wide-reaching appeal. All the gay boys—young and old— tried their best to contain their fascination as Liza carefully walked to the stage dressed her signature all-black attire and shared a few numbers from Confessions. Even bold-face attendees like Alan Cumming, Sandra Bernhard, Tony Danza, Michelle Lee and Marie-Louise Parker—were giddy about the intimate performance. “The very first time I met her she said, ‘I want to be your friend forever,’” Cumming said as he waited for Liza to make her entrance. “She also said she thought she knew me from a former life. I love her because she is electrifying to watch on stage. Everything she does is exciting.”
Liza was certainly in good spirits and although she admitted to being nervous, she quickly went into performance mode, joking, “I’ll just shut up and sing!” With her long-time pianist and friend Billy Stritch at the piano and composer and friend John Kander right up front, Liza delivered a touching rendition of the torch song “You Fascinate Me So.” Later she hammed it up with a song recorded by her godmother, Kay Thompson, called “I Must Have That Man,” and Peggy Lee's Disney tune, “He’s a Tramp.” Perhaps the most humorous moment came when Liza paused to show off the CD cover. After glancing at it she asked, “Have you ever seen so much retouching? Sometimes I fool myself into thinking that I really look like this!” If anything proved what a star Liza is, it was her exit. After less than a half hour on stage, she shared her fifth song of the night, “On Such a Night Like This”—which references mama Judy—Liza was whisked away from the hotel before her admirers had a chance to schmooze with her. If they want more, they’ll have to attend her November 20 concert at the St. George Theater in Staten Island. —Dustin Fitzharris
Confessions is available now. For the latest on Liza, visit OfficialLizaMinnelli.com