It's Liza with a "Z," not Lisa with an "S": Showtime Airs Minnelli Concert April 1

News   It's Liza with a "Z," not Lisa with an "S": Showtime Airs Minnelli Concert April 1 The fully restored and digitally remastered version of Liza Minnelli's iconic 1972 concert "Liza with a 'Z'"— not seen on TV since 1973 — will air on the Showtime cable network April 1 at 8 PM ET.
Liza Minnelli in
Liza Minnelli in "Liza with a 'Z'". Photo by Showtime Networks

The acclaimed concert, which won a Peabody Award as well as four Emmy Awards, airs during Showtime's free preview weekend, March 31-April 3, which means even non-subscribers will have the chance to catch Minnelli's critically hailed performance.

"Liza with a 'Z'" will subsequently air on Showtime Too April 2 at 9 PM, April 10 at 8 PM, April 13 at 6 PM and April 18 at 12 AM.

Minnelli worked with producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, executive producers of the film "Chicago," to bring back the special, which was broadcast on NBC on Sept. 10, 1972; March 9, 1973; and September 1973.

Along with the motion picture "Cabaret," the "Liza With a 'Z'" concert provided the world with an indelible impression of Minnelli as a performer, which has persisted to this day. In the event, which was filmed live at the Lyceum Theatre, she sang such tunes as "Yes," "God Bless the Child," "Say Liza," "It Was a Good Time," "I Gotcha," "Son of a Preacher Man," "Ring Them Bells," "Bye Bye Blackbird," "You've Let Yourself Go" and "My Mammy" as well as a Cabaret medley.

After the program's first three airdates, the negative was placed in the NBC vaults. During the mid-1980s, it was inadvertently misplaced and disappeared. After a search of several years, it was thought to perhaps have been destroyed. Once talk of restoring the program began in 1999, the picture negative was finally found in Los Angeles and New York. Finding the film's soundtrack also proved a challenge. In the words of production notes by restorer Michael Arlick, "the film's original soundtrack had been... re-recorded as a 16mm mono track negative, which is decidedly Lo-Fi by today's standards. Surprisingly, no master mix source survived for the show itself, although a soundtrack album with subtle differences was released in 1972. But Liza had wisely stored away all of the sound elements associated with the project and buried among these I found hundreds of tiny sound rolls. Without a logbook, these presented quite a puzzle, and my initial concern was that I wouldn't find every track necessary to reconstruct the show.

"But Fosse's incredible attention to detail saved the day. He’d produced this special as a musical film, so in addition to Liza's live vocals and the orchestra tracks, every finger snap and footstep had been re-recorded and logged. Nothing was missing, so nothing needed to be recreated.

"And best of all, Phil Ramone had recorded most of the musical program that evening in a multi-track format. So while the show was never designed for a stereo presentation, a full Dolby 5.1 mix was suddenly possible."

Three days after it airs on Showtime, "Liza with a 'Z'" will arrive in stores on DVD (April 4). The DVD will include the fully restored and digitally remastered version of the concert and a separate CD of the soundtrack. Other features of the 240-minute DVD include full-length commentary by Minnelli; a fan question-and-answer session with Minnelli at the 2005 Toronto Film Festival; Minnelli's performance at the 2005 GLAAD Awards; an interview with Chicago and Cabaret composer John Kander conducted by Minnelli; the A&E Network's "Biography: Liza Minnelli"; and biographies of Minnelli and Fosse, who directed the concert.

Liza Minnelli, an Oscar winner for her performance in "Cabaret," was last on Broadway in a tribute to her late father entitled Minnelli on Minnelli; she also returned to New York City's Beacon Theatre with her acclaimed concert Liza's Back! In addition to her Tonys for Flora, the Red Menace and The Act, Minnelli was awarded a special Tony in 1974 for "adding lustre to the Broadway season." Her film credits include "The Sterile Cuckoo," "Arthur," "New York, New York" and "Stepping Out." The singer is also a Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning actress. Her recent album, "Liza's Back!," is available on the J Records label, and "The Best of Liza Minnelli" was released on the Columbia/Legacy label.

For more information about the broadcast of "Liza with a 'Z'," visit www.sho.com.

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