Just before Gaga hit the stage at 9:30 PM, the crowd erupted in cheers when Tony and Academy Award-winning entertainer Liza Minnelli took her seat alongside Billy Stritch. The Cabaret and "New York, New York" star blew kisses to the crowd and signed autographs. Then the countdown to Gaga's entrance began.
Once Gaga had rocked out hits like "Dance in the Dark," "Telephone," "Poker Face" and "Just Dance," she sat down to a deconstructed baby grand piano to perform the rock ballad "Speechless."
It was during the song that Gaga stopped to mention her special guests in attendance. In addition to acknowledging Minnelli (who received a standing ovation), Gaga also mentioned that Academy Award-winning actress Marisa Tomei was in the audience and thanked both of them for being inspirations.
Though she's known for catchy pop and outrageous outfits, Gaga (a New York City native) grew up performing in high school musicals (you can Google to find pictures of her as Adelaide in Guys and Dolls) and also attended New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.
Taking in the throngs of people who came to see her perform after years of dreaming about stardom, Gaga told the packed house that her acting teachers at Tisch always told her what she couldn't achieve: that she sounded "too pop when you sing theatre" and "too theatre when you sing pop."
Giving her best acting teacher impersonation, Gaga recounted the following story to her fans: "'You know, you're never gonna play the heroine, and you're never gonna play the blonde,'" she recalled her instructors telling her. "'You're never gonna play the ingénue. You'll never be the main character. You'll never be the star, because you have dark hair and you're too ethnic.' So, I used to say, 'Well, what about Liza?'"
"And then I get to acting class and they'd always pull out a script for me that Marisa had played in a movie and they'd say, 'You'll play these kind of really ballsy woman roles.' And you know what, there's never a role other than that that I'm ever gonna wanna play. So thank you!"
I also spotted Hair author James Rado and a guest dancing in the Little Monster VIP section at the foot of the stage. At 79 years young, Rado definitely, "got life, brother."
[caption id="attachment_13811" align="aligncenter" width="460" caption="Lady Gaga performs "Paparazzi" at MSG"][/caption]