Liza Minnelli Stepping Out! 2015

Liza Minnelli Stepping Out! 2015

Monday, May 20, 2013

‘Arrested Development's’ favorite kook Liza Minnelli never rests...

‘Arrested Development's’ favorite kook Liza Minnelli never rests 

'Cabaret' legend thrives as a fixture on the theater, concert and awards show scene

Paul Bruinooge/Patrick

Liza Minnelli with Michael Feinstein; she recently appeared on his 'American Songbook' television program.

Liza Minnelli with Jason Bateman in ‘Arrested Development.’

Liza Minnelli starred in the iconic role of Sally Bowles in the 1972 film ‘Cabaret.’

When “Arrested Development” streams hotly anticipated new episodes on Netflix this Sunday, Liza Minnelli is back in action as loopy socialite Lucille Austero.
Lucille 2, as she’s known, never allowed a bit of vertigo keep her from being a woman-about-town.
No wonder they cast Minnelli.
In her Oscar-winning role in “Cabaret,” she famously sang the question “What good is sitting alone in your room?”
And judging by her nonstop appearances at recent Broadway openings, film fetes and TV cameos, Minnelli has no clue.
The woman seldom stays put in her room.
She admits as much.
“New York is such a great city,” she enthuses with more fizz than a just-popped bottle of Champagne. “I love staying current. I’m a curious person. Curiosity keeps you going. I had the last month off and I wanted to catch up on everything in town.”
Seriously, everything.
Nicole Guest, Minnelli’s assistant, knows that only too well. Guest juggles countless invitations from shows and ticket requests from her boss.
In April, Minnelli was front and center all over town. Her nights out included (deep breath): Elaine Stritch’s final opening at the Cafe Carlyle; the premiere of “Kinky Boots”; the Hollywood Reporter party at the Four Seasons for top NYC media movers and shakers; a performance of “Lucky Guy”; Brazilian star Bibi Ferreira’s concert; the opening of “Mistaken for Strangers” at the Tribeca Film Festival; “Macbeth” (twice); the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Chaplin Award to Barbra Streisand; and “I’ll Eat You Last.”

Oh, yeah — she appeared on TV in “Smash,” a Michael Feinstein special, and gabbed with Rachael Ray about “Cabaret”’s 40th anniversary.
In May, Minnelli turned up in a NOH8 campaign portrait — mouth taped, with jazz hands — to protest California’s Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage. And she was in concert in Poughkeepsie and New Brunswick, N.J.
The woman gets around.
She’s Liza with an E-ZPass. And even though she says she’s “not big on parties” and usually skips late-night shindigs after Broadway premieres, the go-go-go remains remarkable. Especially since the 67-year-old star has a robust concert schedule and has been through the wringer emotionally (four fizzled marriages) and physically (she’s got one new knee, two new hips and a lumbar region that wreaks havoc).
“I have to sit down. My back is killing me,” Minnelli moaned before singing Streisand staples “What Did I Have That I Don’t Have?” from “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever,” and “Isn’t This Better” from “Funny Lady” for the Film Society event’s honoree.
“The evening meant a lot to her,” says Minnelli. “I know Barbra.”
She knows everybody. So going out isn’t just a matter of grabbing any old thing. She’s got to get her Liza on. The exclamation point-like wisps of hair accenting her forehead take orchestration.
Her color of choice is black. “But not always,” she says. “It depends on the weather and the event.” For the Hollywood Reporter bash she wore royal blue silk. “Halston,” she says. “Class never changes. It never goes out of style.”
She could have been talking about herself — and her own enduring fascination factor.
“She’s an eternal superstar, no matter what,” says longtime theater publicist Rick Miramontez. “She’s banked an endless supply of adoration and goodwill.”
That’s why Minnelli, unlike, say, Sylvia Miles (who was dissed for being someone who “would attend the opening of an envelope”) isn’t the butt of jokes.

“It’s always the same with Liza,” adds Miramontez, who’s attended her performances, big and small. “She constantly generates a showbizzy electrical charge — except once.” He was the plus-one of a guest at Minnelli’s wedding to David Gest in 2002.
“It was the only time she didn’t throw off that signature Liza thing,” Miramontez says of her atypically subdued demeanor on that first day of their ill-fated marriage.
Mostly, though, the magic is there. Just ask “Kinky Boots” composer Cyndi Lauper. She spotted Minnelli at her show, and Lauper wept.
“Any time I see Liza Minnelli, I get emotional,” Lauper says. “It’s Liza Minnelli.”
At the intermission of “Boots,” Minnelli was spotted chatting up people. “She was like the hostess,” says a theatergoer.
Or a cheerleading belle of the ball — a role she knows well. While she’s aware of her magnetic pull, Minnelli insists it’s not what motivates her.
“I don’t wear my four Tonys on my chest when I go a Broadway show,” she says. “It’s not about me. It’s because I love the theater. It’s where I started.”
That was back in 1963, when she debuted in “Best Foot Forward.”
At 19, she popped in a big way and became the youngest woman to win a Best Actress Tony for “Flora the Red Menace.” She was off and running — hitting highs and lows on stage, screen and TV ever since.
As for “Arrested Development,” she says: “It was wonderful to be back, because the whole show is so outrageous and it was so much fun to do. All the people that I work with are so talented and so brilliant.”
At the moment she’s preparing for a concert on July 6 at the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center on Long Island.
Expect her to sing her gazillionth rendition of “New York, New York” and, yes, “Cabaret.”
“I do the things I like and things other people like,” she says. “That’s always worked for me.”

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