She's back! Liza Minnelli opens at the Royal Albert Hall tonight, where she'll play from April 2 to April 7.
Minnelli remains a huge star, some 30 years after she confirmed her status with the film musical Cabaret, in which her appearance in bowler hat (a play on the name of her character, Sally Bowles, as well as a trademark of choreographer Bob Fosse), shorts and a slash of red lipstick fueled the dreams of a generation of adolescent males.
The daughter of showbiz legend Judy Garland, she appeared in live concerts with her mother in the United States and in London. Liza turned out to be every bit as good a singer — and a better dancer — than her mother.
There will be eight dance numbers at the Royal Albert Hall Concert, and the songs will be a mixture of old favorites and new numbers.
The concert is produced by her new husband, David Guest, and co-produced by Michael Jackson. After the London run it will travel to Denmark, France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Liza Minnelli's offstage problems have often mirrored those of her mother — weight and alcohol problems, broken marriages, a contrast between public talent and private despair; but, as with Judy Garland, it has been these problems, and the vulnerability they reveal, that have endeared her to British audiences, who have taken her to their heart in the same way they did her mother. Indeed, Judy Garland died here in London, back in 1969.
Liza has shown herself to be astoundingly resilient, and her talent, despite years of ill-health, is as strong as ever, which is why the Albert Hall concerts have sold so well. People are coming to see a performer who can still deliver the goods. She also brings to her concerts an extraordinary star quality that is entirely her own, and 30 years after her Oscar-winning performance in Cabaret, she can still sing, with utter conviction, that "Life is a Cabaret, old chum" and have thousands of old friends in the audience wholeheartedly agree.
—By Paul Webb Theatrenow