SPOTLIGHT ON THE 2011 TONY AWARDS: DAY 29 & 30 - Liza With A B (For Broadway)
As a super-special Spring extension of BroadwayWorld's SOUND OFF column, every day until the Tony Awards on June 12 we will be presenting a spectacular new entry in the SPOTLIGHT ON THE 2011 TONY AWARDS series featuring a particularly entertaining, interesting, relevant and exciting Tony Awards-related clip from the last sixty-three years of the ceremonies and subsequent seasons on Broadway with a rundown and commentary on the sights, sounds and showmanship on display in each carefully chosen selection - all, of course, coming in anticipation of Broadway's biggest night, which will be broadcast on CBS this year, as always. Once again this year, BroadwayWorld is the official home of the 2011 Tony Awards and we will also be featuring exclusive interviews, articles, photos, video content, interactive features and more in the coming days and weeks leading up to the event so be sure to check back daily for your theatre fix!
Liza. Four letters say all you need to know about Broadway. She is Broadway, after all, and in many ways the ultimate Broadway icon, just as her mother Judy Garland was the ultimate Hollywood icon. No one in their prime was better. Just recently in Tony Awards history, Miss Minnelli proved she could rock the socks off of the entire world with her magnificent performance of "And The World Goes Round" - the capper of the 2009 Tony Awards opening number, perhaps the biggest of all time. Today, we take a look at Liza at the Tony Awards - and, considering today is Tony's Eve, the timing is just right. How else does A real BROADWAY baby spend a Saturday night - all alone in your room or not - than with Miss Minnelli?
Shine It On
Simply the best… and, as these clips amply display, the most charismatic, vivacious, electric and exciting performer Broadway has ever known. It doesn't get any better than this - and here are some choice clips from Tony Awards past to prove it! THE ACT, THE RINK, LIZA'S AT THE PALACE, a Bernadette Peters duet and a medley with her famous sibling Lorna Luft are only the very beginning of the blast of white hot heat emitted from center stage every time our top Tony Awards leading lady takes to it - and sets it alight. Hell, she sets it on fire!
First, Liza performing "City Lights" by Kander & Ebb from the 1977 musical THE ACT, for which she took home Best Actress In A Musical at that year's Tony Awards ceremony.
THE ACT was originally directed out of town by Martin Scorsese, but Gower Champion eventually stepped in before the show hit Broadway, so - just in time - here is Peter Ustinov introducing Liza at the 1968 Tony Awards as she presents the award for Best Choreography with Champion winning for his work on THE HAPPY TIME - incidentally, also by Kander & Ebb.
With the first of two clips from the 1984 Tony Awards - easily the best Tony Awards of the last thirty years - here is Julie Andrews introducing a performance from that year's nominated Best Musical, THE RINK, starring Chita Rivera who took home the top Tony prize over Liza herself that night and - you guessed it - the one and only Liza, energizing the jaunty "Wallflower" by Kander & Ebb who else?!.
Following that Kander & Ebb mini-medley of material from THE RINK, here is Liza performing "Yes" from 70, GIRLS, 70 and her inimitable signature song or at least one of them, "Cabaret", as only she can! What a scorching red number - in more ways than one shoes or not!.
Now, check out Liza and her half-sister Lorna Luft performing a medley of songs at the 1993 Tony Awards. What genes!
Also taken from the 1993 Tony Awards, here is Liza performing the specialty number "Ladies' Day"! "At last," indeed!
Next, we have a particularly thrilling Tony Awards opener starring Liza alongside Broadway heavyweight diva Bernadette Peters, as well as Nathan Lane and the cast of A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM, knocking Radio City's tap shoes off once again - with even a brief appearance from The Phantom - taken from the 1996 Tony Awards.
Lastly, here is Liza accepting the most recent of her Tony Awards for LIZA'S AT THE PALACE in 2009.
As a special bonus, here is the terrific 2009 Tony Awards opening sequence featuring the final portion led by Miss Minnelli performing "And The World Goes Round" and making heads spin - including Anne Hathaway's, judging from her appreciative and joyous reaction! Plus, "Let The Sun Shine In" from HAIR!
And, since there is never too much of Liza - particularly on Tony's eve - here is an endlessly entertaining performance of "All That Jazz" from CHICAGO by Liza and Goldie Hawn from a 1980 TV special, GOLDIE & LIZA TOGETHER.
So, what's your favorite Liza performance? Talk about impossible to choose! Liza puts the A in CABARET - and the B in Broadway. Ten thousand top hats off to Miss Minnelli!
That's all for today. Be sure to stay tuned to BroadwayWorld for all things Tony Awards and subscribe to this column to be the very first to check out the clips, commentary and take part in the conversation in our deluxe toast to the one and only Antoinette Perry every day until June 12 - and, especially, on that day! Until then…
From This Author Pat Cerasaro