Liza Minnelli is producing Sam Harris' "Revival," a two-night benefit at the Bottom Line on June 5-6. The shows will support Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
"It's a concert theatre piece with a pop gospel sensibility." Harris said. Harris spoke with Playbill On-Line on May 1 moments after agreeing to stand in for "Law and Order" star Jesse Martin as a co-host of the Lucille Lortel Awards in Manhattan.
Liza Minnelli is currently in the hospital in Baltimore after being forced to cancel her own tour due to a hip ailment. Though frustrated that she had to step off stage, she is actively producing the "Revival" event for the Bottom Line stage.
"The show is sort of based on my new CD, which is called 'Revival,' but it's also a comment on what's going on socially," Harris said. "There's humor, neuroses and my attempt to find some peace within it all." Although "Revival" features a band, backup singers and dancers, Harris stresses that the "soul revue" is, in fact, a work in progress.
"We're building it up for a full production," Harris said. "When Broadway Cares gave us the opportunity, Liza and I decided to take what we had - and you have to realize, I don't really have two full acts yet -- and put it up. It's a chance to help make some money for something we love and to get something up in front of some people." Despite her physical setback, Minnelli is committed to the project and is active with it during her hospitalization. "Oh, absolutely," Harris said. "She's presenting it and she's presenting me. We have a deep friendship and she's still doing this even though she's going through all of this now. I spent the weekend with her and we are talking on the phone everyday."
Harris said Minnelli's spirits are "great, high," even though she's "very frustrated" because the hip ailment interrupted her tour when she was anxious to show everyone what she had done in New York at the Palace Theatre in December.
"She's frustrated," Harris explained, "but in the bigger picture it's best because she really has no choice but to heal and take care of herself so that she can make other choices later on. I know she was in a lot of pain while she was going through her New York run, so everything she's doing now to take care of herself is a wise and healthy choice. In a way, being able to work on this and to pull something together helps her. Even though she can't actually be on stage, she can work behind the scenes."
-- By Murdoch McBride