By Stacy Brown, The Sentinel
If curiosity killed the cat, inquiring minds won’t easily be rid of Liza Minnelli.
“Curiosity keeps me going. I’m curious about everything and, oddly enough, I’m enjoying what I’m doing all of the time,” Minnelli told The Sentinel as she prepares to bring her “Confessions” tour to the H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center at Shippensburg University.
Minnelli plans to include some old favorites and showcase her latest CD, “Legends of Broadway: Liza Minnelli Live at the Winter Garden.”
Tickets for the Oct. 19 performance are $67, $77, $87 and $95.
The 8 p.m. show promises to cure Minnelli fans of any curiosity they may have about the legend.
“It’s a much more intimate show,” she said. “There will be six or seven musicians and me. There are so many songs, but a lot of what I do will depend on the audience.”
Minnelli, a winner of four Tony Awards, an Oscar, a special Legends Grammy, two Golden Globe Awards and an Emmy, is considered one of the most versatile performers in the world.
She was born in 1946 to legendary actress and singer Judy Garland and film director Vincente Minnelli, who was responsible for such classics as “Meet Me in St. Louis,” and “An American in Paris.”
She was just 3 years old when she appeared in the 1949 musical “In the Good Old Summertime” with Garland.
Despite the early start and the fame of her parents, success wasn’t simply handed to Minnelli.
“She left home for New York City at the age of 15 to make it on her own, so she doesn’t have the Hollywood background that people think she does,” Minnelli’s long time publicist, Scott Gorenstein, said.
At 16, Minnelli starred in an Off-Broadway revival of the musical “Best Foot Forward,” for which she received her first award, the Theatre World Award.
At 19, she became the youngest woman ever to win a leading actress Tony Award for “Flora the Red Menace.”
“I learned from the bottom up,” Minnelli said. “I was a stage hand, I made scenery out of paper roses but I did it because I loved what I was doing.”
She later appeared in such Broadway hits as “Chicago,” “The Rink,” “Victor/Victoria,” “The Act” and “New York, New York,” which was opposite Robert DeNiro.
Minnelli was also seen on movie screens in films that showcased her acting abilities, including her first film role, opposite Albert Finney in “Charlie Bubbles,” followed by “The Sterile Cuckoo,” for which she won her first Academy Award nomination for best actress.
In 1972, Minnelli’s movie career peaked when she played Sally Bowles in “Cabaret.” The film won eight Oscars, including best actress for Minnelli. The role also earned her a Golden Globe and a British Film Academy Award.
The success of “Cabaret” put Minnelli on the covers of both Time and Newsweek in the same week.
In 1981, she co-starred with Dudley Moore on the big screen in the classic “Arthur,” going on to make the sequel “Arthur 2” in 1988.
Now Minnelli is returning to the small screen to reprise her role of Lucille Austero in the Netflix revival of the canceled Fox comedy “Arrested Development.”
“I’m so excited about that,” Minnelli said. “I just finished filming the first episode and it’s so funny. I love it.” But she also loves her music, she said.
And, unlike many artists from other eras, Minnelli isn’t quick to dismiss today’s music.
“I sure do like today’s music because girls still fall in love to some songs, and guys still think that’s cool,” Minnelli said. One of Minnelli’s favorites is Lady Gaga.
“Gaga is great. She’s a buddy of mine, and she can really sing, she can move and play the piano and she knows how to put on a show,” Minnelli said. “Gaga’s got it all down.”
When asked her thoughts on the feud between Gaga and pop queen Madonna, Gaga laughed. “Who? What? A feud? Well, Madonna is great and Gaga is great,” she said.
While many have understandably credited Minnelli’s career and success to Garland, she said her biggest influence was not her famous mother.
“My father,” she said. “He studied everything.”
Minnelli, whose music catalog includes “Cabaret,” “New York, New York,” “All That Jazz,” and “Bye Bye Blackbird,” also gives a lot of credit for her success to a man she said left her breathless the first time she saw him, French singer Charles Aznavour.
“I remember going to see this French guy and, I don’t get it,” she said. “He came on stage and I stopped breathing. Each song was like a little movie in itself and he just drew you in, and I thought, that’s what I want to do.”
Aznavour, who has written more than 800 songs, including the classic “La Bohème,” later came to see Minnelli perform, and she asked if he would study with her.
“He said yes, and so I went to Paris and he wrote some songs for me and I liked them all,” she said.
Minnelli helped to honor the now-88-year-old Aznavour at a gala in New York last year.
For Minnelli, life has had its share of ups and downs, but the superstar said she makes a habit of focusing on the “here and now.”
Minnelli enjoys watching dance shows and competition shows such as “American Idol” and “America’s Got Talent,” she said.
It is important that up-and-coming artists show a willingness to learn their craft as best they can, she said.
“I would tell them to stay curious, always keep learning and watch your audience and how people react to you,” Minnelli said. “It is so important to know your audience and what they want. That’s what I do and that’s what you’ll see (in Shippensburg).”
Friday, October 5, 2012
Liza Minnelli brings 'Confessions' to Luhrs Center Oct 19th.