When the Great American Songbook Hall of Fame Gala weekend kicks off Friday in Indianapolis, two of America’s most enduring stars will be in town.
Rita Moreno and Liza Minnelli, who are among a rare class of performing artists who have Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards in their hands, will be here as Hall of Fame honorees. They will be inducted with a class that includes Frank Sinatra and songwriter, composer and singer Jimmy Webb. They are the second class of stars to be added to the Hall of Fame list, which is housed at Carmel’s The Center for the Performing Arts, and honors those who have helped keep the music of the Songbook, known as American Standards, in popular culture.
The high-end, two-day “2013 Encore Celebration Weekend” fundraiser this year includes dinner, dancing, an auction at the Indiana Roof Ballroom on Friday and a performance at the Palladium honoring the Hall of Fame inductees on Saturday. Individual tickets cost $500.
Michael Feinstein, artistic director for Carmel’s Center for the Performing Arts, among her best friends and will be staying with him in his Carmel residence.
“We love each other, we respect each other and I discovered him,” Minnelli, 67, said in a telephone interview Wednesday. “He is really something.”
Minnelli is planning a performance Friday at the Indiana Roof Ballroom, too — something that had been unconfirmed until now.
“Michael means so much to me and this is such a thrill,” she said.
Moreno is excited about the coming weekend, too.
“I am not only absolutely stunned, but honored, to be in such distinguished company. I am surprised and it’s a happy surprise,” said Moreno, who was also interviewed by phone Wednesday. Moreno was particularly chatty, so I asked her a few extra questions:
You are 81 and still working. What is
the secret to remaining relevant?
Answer: I think it’s called perseverance. I really have a feeling I am one of those people who has a natural longevity. I have to say as I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten more celebrity. I don’t know the answer to that and I accept it with great glee. Maybe it has something to do with my personality. I am happy and energetic.
Q: Talk about your book “Rita Moreno: A Memoir,” which, I understand, is available at the Palladium’s
A: (First) let people know that if they get (the book), I would be happy to sign it. It’s about my life, it’s about Puerto Rico, it (describes) an Old Hollywood that no longer exists and (my relationships with) Marlon Brando and
You famously appeared in the 1970s television series “The Electric Company,” which opened with your voice yelling “Hey You Guys.” Talk a little about that.
A: That “Hey you guys” call, I call that my second balcony voice.
Call Cathy Kightlinger at (317) 444-6067 and follow her on Twitter @ckightlin
Cathy Kightlingerhttp://www.indystar.com/article/20130626/LIFE08/306260115/Liza-Minnelli-Rita-Moreno-bringing-their-star-power-Indy-Carmel Michael Feinstein, artistic director for the Carmel Center for the Performing Arts, and life partner, Terrence Flannery, within their living room. Frank EspichThe Star
Detail of a personal signed poster to Feinstein from friend Liza Minnelli, displayed in the guest house at the home of Terrence Flannery and Michael Feinstein, artistic director for the Carmel Center for the Performing Arts. (Frank Espich/The Star)
Terrence Flannery shows some of the classic original Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer movie posters, displayed in the guest house at the home of Flannery and Michael Feinstein, artistic director for the Carmel Center for the Performing Arts. (Frank Espich/The Star)