Liza Minnelli Stepping Out! 2015

Liza Minnelli Stepping Out! 2015

Thursday, February 28, 2013

LIZA & ALAN ~ The Last Vaudevillians

After years of friendship, Liza Minnelli and Alan Cumming are finally hitting the New York stage together. Our exclusive interview with the iconic stars reveals what they’ve learned about performing, themselves and each other along the way.
Alan Cumming will never forget the first time he felt Liza Minnelli. Yes, felt. That’s because they touched before they ever spoke. The Scottish actor was having his Broadway breakthrough in the celebrated 1998 revival of Cabaret on Broadway and, a few weeks into the run, Cabaret’s lyricist, Frank Ebb, brought a special guest to see it. “I remember at one point during the show I walked through the audience after singing a song…and then I walked right past Liza. I was all kind of druggie; that was what my character was doing at that point in the show, and Liza hit me in the back and went, ‘Fabulous’!” Cumming relates with his best Minnelli cackle.
 “She came to my dressing room afterwards and was sort of squashed against my towel that was hanging on a hook,” he continues. “I went ‘Gosh! You’re squashed against my towel’ and she said ‘I’ll squash against anything for you, Alan.’ It was just a crazy, magical kind of meeting. Then she said ‘Let’s be friends.’ And it’s funny because I know that’s sort of a trite thing that people say but she meant it, you know?” And the pair have been friends ever since.
Over the years the two bonded over their breakout roles in Cabaret, Minnelli in the 1972 film and Alan in the West End and Broadway revivals. But it wasn’t until a certain New York nightlife promoter attempted to bring them out to the Ice Palace in Cherry Grove that the two ever thought of performing together. “I had already booked Alan for my Icon Series and I knew he and Liza were good friends,” explains Daniel Nardicio, who produced the duo’s Ice Palace show. “I’ve always wanted to work with Liza and thought I’d attempt what no one had done before: getting them together to do songs from Cabaret. But what made the show even more exciting was doing it on Fire Island. When she said yes it was the happiest day of my career.”
“We were just friends and then he called and said, ‘Do you want to do this thing?’ and I said ‘Sure!’” recalls Minnelli enthusiastically, explaining she had been to Fire island many times before and fell in love with the idea. “We had such a laugh [doing the show] and it was really an amazing night,” adds Cumming. “We did two concerts, and then we went out to some of those wee bars in Cherry Grove. Liza and I were chatting and she’s like, ‘We should take this to Broadway!’…I just love she’s 67 years old and she’s still up for anything.” 
But what started out as a joke turned into an exciting new idea. “We sort of thought: we’d had such fun. We’d never done a proper show like that before—it’s difficult with both our schedules.” So when Nardicio came back with news that The Town Hall was interested in bringing the Fire Island cabaret to the city, the pair jumped at the chance. 
The March 13 and 14 shows at The Town Hall, which come on the heels of Minnelli’s 67th birthday on March 12, will be much bigger productions than their Fire Island counterparts. Though Nardicio is once again producing and Lance Horne is back as musical director, the show will feature a full band and plenty of new songs. “Even if you saw the Fire Island one I would think a very large percentage of this one will be completely new,” says Cumming. “It’s fun, it’s exciting and the beginning is hilarious.” Minnelli adds: “I think it’s the chemistry between us that people [will] enjoy.”
So what is it like for two classic vaudevillians to be working so intimately after all these years? Well, they both admit they’ve learned a lot from each other. Between the laughs—and there are lots of those—Cumming has discovered some exciting new lessons. “When I’ve seen Liza perform she gets so nervous and then you see her grow in confidence,” he says. “It’s like the build of a song, her whole concert, and it ends with this big finish that is so emotional. I’ve learned that if you are open to the audience and you allow them to see the real you then you can do pretty much anything you like.” 
For Minnelli, the experience with Cumming is that of discovering a kindred spirit. “There is something unique and wonderful about him,” she says. “There is something so magnetic and fun. It’s like he’s got a secret he’s not telling anyone.” Plus, Cumming helps to bring out her naughty side. “I think onstage I make her feel safe,” he says.
This idea that two accomplished performers—both of whom have a slew of other projects at the same time, including Cumming’s one-man Macbeth on Broadway and Minnelli’s concert at Royal Albert Hall in London—can share something new with each other is so much of what bonds them. And it is evident their friendship will endure the rest of their lives. “I send [audio] messages to my assistant while I’m out rehearsing and it’s so funny when I hear [Minnelli] in the background laughing and coughing,” recalls Cumming fondly. “I feel so honored that I get a chance to work with this national treasure. She’s also just hilarious. We just crack up the entire time.”

Liza Minnelli - Liza In London (HBO 1986)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Lady Peaceful, Lady Happy?

Lady Peaceful, Lady Happy?

By Marcelle Bernstein , Wednesday 27 February 2013

It’s 40-odd years since Liza Minnelli burst onto the big screen in the film Cabaret. Marcelle Bernstein was on the set at that time and here catches up with the legend ahead of a rare appearance in the UK.

Liza Minnelli was in Germany filming Cabaret when we first met in 1971. Twenty-five years old, she was carrying the expectations of a major movie. Tiny, tense and talkative, she was adorable, funny, full of bounce – and so, so young. Her every feature seemed exaggerated: her mouth was enormous, absurd, out of all proportion with what she called, disparagingly, her ‘mouse face’ with ‘a tiny chin’. False eyelashes thick as Bambi’s were specially made to fit the downturned curves of her huge, sombre, Italian eyes. The black hair was a sleek cap cut into a sharp pointed fringe, and when she arched her fingers over her head, nails painted brilliant green, she resembled a bizarre dragonfly.
Liza herself created that extraordinary appearance – though author Christopher Isherwood described the green nails in his novella Sally Bowles, later published in Goodbye to Berlin, which in turn inspired the musical and the subsequent film (directed by Bob Fosse and co-starring Joel Grey).
She talks as if it were all just yesterday. ‘When they told me I was going to play Sally, my dad [director Vincente Minnelli] showed me pictures of Louise Brooks and all of these exotic, wonderful creatures. And I thought, “Oh great!” and started thinking about the look. I was in Los Angeles, and I saw this eyelash shop. I went in and said, “Hi. Whaddya got? I’m making this character and I want her to be extraordinary!” I dyed my hair and cut it in a point with Joel’s help. I knocked on Fosse’s door the night before we started shooting and said, “Whaddya think?” He went, “What the... you didn’t ask... I think it’s great.”’
Back then she was Judy Garland’s little girl with a fast-blossoming career. At 19, Life magazine spoke of her ‘awkward, captivating charm... a voice that quivered sweetly and occasionally got out of control’. Then Cabaret turned her into a global superstar. It was strong material, dealing with anti-Semitism in Nazi-era Berlin, abortion, collaboration, betrayal and homosexuality. It is still her best film work and she lives with the knowledge that her portrayal of Sally Bowles, all red lips and bowler hat, black stockings revealing white thighs, will forever define her. 
Today Liza has rushed back, breathless, from two hours teaching singing at the Actors’ Studio to her apartment in Manhattan, which she bought in the Seventies. Notorious for being late, her infectious warmth is still endearing: ‘Oh, sweetheart, forgive me for keeping you waiting...’
We had spent two days together when I shadowed her at the film studios outside Munich 40-odd years ago. For a moment, her welcome convinces me she remembers. But it’s probably a practised, professional tool.
She lives high in a towering white brick building on the fringe of Central Park. In her hallway four Warhol portraits are hung together to make a full wall of different coloured Lizas. Beyond the hallway is the big open-plan lounge. There are more Warhols – including ones of both her parents – a stunning black-and-white photograph of Judy Garland and several paintings by Frank Sinatra (who knew he painted?). There’s red carpeting, white marble floors, mirrored walls, orchids, great red-lacquered coffee tables and Tiffany ashtrays. Big windows frame a glittering panorama of Manhattan. And of course there are the awards – an Oscar for Cabaret and she already had a Tony: she is one of the elite group to possess every showbiz gong there is.
While we talk there are various interruptions, mysterious disappearances, brief shouted conversations with invisible people (‘...all right... I goddit... in a minute... hang on...’). So one thing hasn’t altered: a nervy excitement still fizzes round her, filling the room. Three miniature schnauzers scamper around.
She turns 67 this month but the artfully spiked punk-pixie hair, unnaturally black like the eyebrows, makes her oddly ageless. Curled in the corner of an outsize cream sofa, she is in slouchy trousers, a black hoodie and a T-shirt. She holds out bare nails for inspection. ‘Look, dead white. I have a few days’ rest and relax. Actually I have flu, had a shot from the doc today,’ she sighs. ‘I always feel under pressure to be glamorous, to be bubbly.’ She adds, touchingly, ‘It’s just what people expect’.
Some questions go ignored. She tells stories that start promisingly (‘I was playing Vegas when I was young enough that they wouldn’tlet me in the casino. I had to go through the kitchens...’), but loses the thread and talks about people I’ve never heard of.
Everyone is wonderful, everyone has influenced her. ‘Aznavour showed me... Sammy taught me... Frank always...’ It’s sweet, sort of, and strange. Perhaps because people are always asking about her life, the past for her hovers very close.
She leaves the room briefly and returns, having changed into flat shoes. Forty years ago I was just a bit taller than her and I’m only 5ft 4in. But she’s much shorter now. A lifetime of dancing has punished her body. She has two crushed discs, plates and screws, two false hips and a wired-up knee. ‘I’m Dorothy’s daughter up top and the Tin Man down below,’ she says ruefully.
We talk about her London appearance in March when she is performing songs from Cabaret and other classic Minnelli hits. Will she be dancing or, um, is she beyond that now? She pounces, laughing: ‘That was so, so polite of you!’
Truth to tell, Liza hasn’t danced on stage for a couple of years. She still looks terrific up there but, in fact, she now uses cleverly choreographed routines with minimal moves and lots of arm gestures. Occasionally, she even sits down. ‘There are times when I get up there and I feel so clumsy, oh man. Then I think of my dance teacher Luigi saying, “Chest up, get your balance, adjust... Go.” Once you get loosened up, it’s heaven.’
Luigi, now in his eighties, has taught her since she was 13 and is a key part of her life. He has worked with everyone from Gene Kelly to Astaire – and Garland herself. ‘He stresses the importance of using the body properly. If you keep doing things right long enough, they’ll get better – right. But, if you keep doing things wrong long enough, they’ll feel right – and that’s wrong.’
Forty years ago Liza was in need of constant companionship, more than a touch insecure. Now, when I ask what she plans to wear for London, she gives a little gasp. ‘Oh my gosh, I’m so glad you asked...’ A note of real anxiety, almost panic, comes into her voice. The insecurity is still there, after all these years. ‘What do you think I should wear?’
Liza Minnelli, living legend, is asking me? So where are the designers, the stylists, the dressers? I’ve read she has three assistants, a nutritionist, a physiotherapist. ‘Oh please. At my age? I don’t! I have Nicole [her assistant], she’s a treasure – I call her Mighty Mouse – and my crew of three guys, who are wonderful. I’ve cut my band down to seven guys; it used to be 25. Things are different now.’
She travels without fuss. ‘I wear a baker boy cap and comfy trousers.’ The woman who once partied nonstop reveals, ‘I like to eat at friends’ houses. And I love fish and chips.’
At 25 she was a romantic who read Colette and Scott Fitzgerald. She didn’t care two hoots about appearances. Her two fur coats arrived because her agent bought them when he could no longer stand her poverty-stricken look. Her then-lover Rex, a fluffy-haired musician, had just given her a pearl necklace, earrings and bracelet: she wouldn’t wear them, agonising over whether it had hurt the oysters. (The provenance of the fur coats didn’t seem to bother her.)
Her look was created by the designer Halston, who also styled her apartment. Remember her purple frock in Cabaret’s Kit Kat Club, small breasts bare beneath clinging fabric? Similar halter-neck dresses, fabulously sequined, became her signature during the nightclubbing, party-pill-popping years of the Seventies and early Eighties. Now she wears a lot of black and red, a lot of glitter.
At 25 she confessed, ‘I do like thin,’ while nibbling greenery in a restaurant after an exhausting series of takes. ‘I won’t eat for a couple of days, then I’ll have chips and cream cheese and chocolate.’ It never changed: Halston made her clothes in three sizes to accommodate dramatic weight swings.
Among the first to champion Aids victims, long before Liz Taylor, her sympathy surely comes from the bisexuality of her father and two of her four husbands. She acknowledges that ‘Some have labelled me a gay icon. Well, no sh*t, Sherlock. Are you going to meet a lot of basketball players when you’re performing on Broadway?’ 
All those years ago she sang, memorably, ‘Maybe this time I’ll be lucky, not a loser any more, like the last time and the time before: Lady Peaceful, Lady Happy, that’s what I long to be...’
Neither of us imagined that those words would predict Liza’s emotional life. She may now (I so hope) be Lady Happy, but Lady Peaceful is not in her nature. How could it be, with the emotional baggage she carries? We are all of us our parents’ children, but this woman is never allowed to forget her lineage. A public figure from the time she was a toddler (‘I came out of the womb looking for the camera angle’), she has never been permitted privacy. So we know all about the problems: Liza is showbiz’s most famous high-wire act.
There has been a lot of kooky behaviour over the years. Drugs and drink and rehab, collapses and cancelled concerts and surprising revivals. Several miscarriages cost her the children she would have loved. ‘It’s one of my life’s true regrets. They would have given me a centre of gravity.’
Her own childhood was famously fraught. She has too many stories about how she took care of her siblings, and refilled her mother’s sleeping pills with sugar. ‘I had tremendously interesting childhood years – except that they had nothing to do with being a child.’ If she learned too much about life too soon, that experience surely formed her personality, her determinedly upbeat attitude. ‘The regrets of yesterday and the fear of tomorrow can kill you,’ she says philosophically. Michael Feinstein, the singer pianist with whom she often shares a stage, says, ‘When the world ends, cockroaches will survive. And Liza Minnelli.’
Any one of the repeated surgeries on her body, the work on her teeth, polyps on her vocal cords, double pneumonia and damaged lungs, the near fatal bout of viral encephalitis that threatened life in a wheelchair, would have finished the career of any other woman. After breaking a leg falling over one of her schnauzers, she was carried onstage by bare-chested boys.
The press revelled in Garland’s dramas, as they do in her daughter’s. Does this bother her? ‘Oh, no!’ she says, sounding incredulous. ‘My mother taught me what to do. She said, “Give the public what they want, then go get a hamburger someplace.” She really did teach me that.’
She knows that we also want to read about the many, many men; lovers, fiancés, four husbands. An unlikely and very public London fling with Peter Sellers (the first item on a BBC Nine O’Clock News bulletin in 1973). Married to Jack Haley Jr, she had a relationship with Martin Scorsese, another with dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov. (I have been warned by her publicist, however, on no account to raise the divorce from David Gest.)
She is cutting down on appearances, but won’t stop. ‘Why? I feel great – besides all the false parts. You find what works and you build on that. I’m always looking at the next thing.’ And there must always be a next thing: Liza seems to have let various husbands handle the commercial side of her work, with varying degrees of success. Laid up by illness, ‘I watched the Warhols walk out the door. To the public, showbusiness may just mean the artistic part. But the dollar and cents element is the reality every performer has to face.’
She sounds tired as she adds – and it’s impossible not to feel for her – ‘I have a lot of people to support.’
What keeps her going? ‘Curiosity. Always.’ It’s true: when I mention that my musician son is in his own show at a Wall Street theatre, she is alive with interest. ‘Tell me about him. You’re coming to the Festival Hall? Bring him backstage.’ Liza so much wants people to love her. ‘I don’t have a life if I’m not in front of an audience. What makes people go into show business is “a dream of royalty”. Me, I just have a good time.’
And so do we. Listen to that voice, now tender, now raucous, making each song fresh. She gives us pure emotion. ‘If you get lost in it, and believe in it, so will the audience.
‘I’m not a very good singer,’ she admits. ‘I just know how to present a song. And honey, I think I’ve been through enough to do it right.’
Mighty Mouse’s voice is at the door. It’s time for Liza to push herself up from the sofa. ‘Darling, sweetheart, I gotta go, thank you so much...’ 
Flu or no flu, divas still have tight schedules.
Liza Minnelli will be singing songs from Cabaret at The Royal Festival Hall on March 1 as part of the Southbank Centre’s Berlin in the Twenties and Thirties weekend.
This article originally appeared in Saga Magazine . For more fascinating articles like this, delivered direct to your doorstep each month, subscribe today.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

FLASBACK ~ Liza 1951 - 1979

Liza Minnelli - Southampton 1951
Liza Minnelli, daughter of actress Judy Garland, on her arrivals at Southampton after stepping off the Queen Elizabeth liner. Complete with her toy elephant 'Flopears', she's arrived in England to join her mother who is appearing in a theater tour

Liza Minnelli - Talk of the Town, London 1966
Liza Minnelli, singer-actress daughter of Judy Garland, on arrival at Heathrow Airport to make her first London appearance in cabaret, at the Talk of the Town.

 Liza Minnelli - Heathrow Airport 1969

Liza Minnelli, singer-actress daughter of the late Judy Garland, on arrival at Heathrow Airport from New York, to appear on the Tom Jones TV Show

LIZA MINNELLI : 1979 LIZA MINNELLI 1979: American entertainer Liza Minnelli on stage at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London, during rehearsals for the Martha Graham Dance Company's production of 'The Owl and the Pussycat'.

Liza Minnelli sings "Oscar"

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Liza! And Lorna! And Barry! Oh My! Liza Minnelli & Barry Manilow Take in Lorna Luft’s New Cabaret Show

Photo By Josh Ferri February 12, 2013

Music legends Liza Minnelli and Barry Manilow took a night off to enjoy the vocal stylings of another big-voiced singer, Emmy winner (and Minnelli's little sister) Lorna Luft. Minnelli and Manilow headed over to Birdland on February 11 to check out the opening night of Luft’s new show, Lorna’s Living Room. With the help of Broadway vets Tony Yazbeck and David Elder, Luft reimagined songs by Irving Berlin, Rogers & Hart and Burt Bacharach. After the show, Minnelli and Manilow stayed behind to congratulate her. Take a look at the trio in the photo above, and check out Barry’s show, Manilow on Broadway, at the St. James Theatre through March 2.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Baby Liza and clown

Tony Awards: Liza Minnelli & Lorna Luft meoldy

David Rosenberg with Liza Minnelli and Barry Manilow @ Lorna Luft's performance tonight in New York club Birdland.

David Rosenberg with Liza Minnelli and Barry Manilow @ Lorna Luft's performance tonight in New York club Birdland.
Lorna Luft giving a top notch performance @ Birdland in New York this evening!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


C A B A R E T, Liza Minnelli, Joel Grey, Michael york, Bob Fosse, Kander and Ebb, movie musical

Forty Years Later, a New Way to See Cabaret...

Forty Years Later, a New Way to See Cabaret

Cabaret celebrates its 40th anniversary with a Blu-ray debut.

BY Christopher Rudolph

February 04 2013 9:26 PM ET

Today marks the Blu-ray debut of one of the most beloved film musicals ever made, Cabaret. Released in 1972 to much critical fanfare, it went on to win multiple Oscars including Best Actress for Liza Minnelli, Supporting Actor for Joel Grey, and Best Director for Bob Fosse (beating out Francis Ford Coppola, who directed that year’s Best Picture winner, The Godfather). The Blu-ray release is packaged with a beautiful book highlighting the making of the film and also has special features including the new documentary entitled Cabaret: The Musical That Changed Musicals.
Aside from the occasional stage appearance or concert tour, these days Liza can be found making cameos in film and television series such as Sex and the City 2 and Arrested Development, but it’s Cabaret (and the TV special Liza With a Z, from the same year) that reminds you that she is one of the greatest performers the stage has ever known.
The restored Cabaret recently made its debut at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York, where TCM’s Robert Osborne hosted a Q&A with Liza, Joel, and other members of the cast. Watch the clip below when the cast swung by the Today show to talk about the Blu-ray and the making of the now-classic film.  

Monday, February 4, 2013

Liza Minnelli talks 'Cabaret' in new doc on 40th anniversary Blu-ray - EXCLUSIVE VIDEO
Before recent movie musicals such as Les Miserables and Chicago, before the massive onslaught of singing TV shows and competitions, there was glittering, golden, black-haired Liza Minnelli in 1972′s Cabaret.
As belting, dancing, starry-eyed American Sally Bowles, performing at the Kit Kat Klub in early 1930s cusp-of-Nazi-takeover Berlin, Minnelli was saucy, sex-loving, sensitive, and decadent. Her glitzy long fake eyelashes rivaled bird wings. Minnelli snagged a lead actress Oscar for the role. The movie, both socially conscious and entertaining, earned several other Oscars, including trophies for Bob Fosse as best director and Joel Grey as best supporting actor playing the club’s lipstick-wearing master of ceremonies. In other words, the film was a smash.
Timed to the movie’s 40th anniversary, Warner Bros. is releasing a newly restored Blu-ray of the musical and book on Tuesday packed with extras. Check out this exclusive clip, below, from a new documentary, Cabaret: The Musical that Changed Musicals, included in the Blu-ray, with Grey and Minnelli — wearing Sally Bowles-worthy dangly earrings — talking about how the film blew everyone’s expectations after years of over-stuffed musical flops. “I had no idea what that movie was going to turn out to be. None of us did,” says Minnelli in the clip. “You know, they didn’t believe in this movie. A musical about the Nazis, uhhhhh. Musicals were not popular. They had failed. Cabaret was a huge hit.”

Friday, February 1, 2013

Interview with Joel Grey and Michael York: Cabaret Round Table Interviews.

Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey Reunite at 40th Anniversary Screening of the Academy Award-Winning Film Musical, Cabaret

Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Film stars Michael York and Marisa Berenson were also on hand for the event, held at the Ziegfeld Theatre.

By David Gordon • Feb 1, 2013 • New York City
Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey, the Academy Award-winning stars of the 1972 film Cabaret, reunited at a screening of the movie musical on Thursday, January 31 at the Ziegfeld Theatre. The event, held in honor of the Bob Fosse film's 40th Anniversary (and forthcoming Blu-ray release), was presented by Turner Classic Movies, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, and Verizon.
Joining Minnelli and Grey were their on-screen co-stars, Michael York and Marisa Berenson, Bob Fosse's daughter, Nicole Fosse, and Turner Classic Movies host Robert Osborne, who led a Q&A at the screening. Guests included two-time Tony winner Bernadette Peters (Follies), 1950s film star Arlene Dahl (Three Little Words), and cabaret singer Nicolas King, among many others.
Based on the acclaimed musical, which features a score by John Kander and Fred Ebb and a book by Joe Masteroff, as well John Van Druten's play, I Am a Camera, and the pre-World War II Berlin novels of Christopher Isherwood, Fosse's Academy Award-winning film features a screenplay by Jay Presson Allen. The forthcoming Blu-ray release will include a re-mastered edition of the film, a new documentary titled "Cabaret: The Musical that Changed Musicals," vintage documentaries, and a series of memory galleries.

Minnelli And Cabaret Cast Reunited VIDEO

Liza Minnelli & Cast From Cabaret 40th Anniversary VIDEO in NYC Ziefeld Theatre