Liza in

east side story
Leading Actor
joined:4/21/11
Liza in "The Act"
Posted: 11/23/13 at 11:08am
Okay, so we all love her. The role won her a Tony. But there is plenty of tea to be served. What exactly happened with this show?
Mr Roxy
Broadway Legend
joined:5/17/03
Liza in
Posted: 11/23/13 at 11:40am
It closed after about 6 months never to be heard from again.
Cynicism is an unpleasant way of saying the truth - Lillian Hellman.
PalJoey
Broadway Legend
joined:3/11/04
Liza in
Posted: 11/23/13 at 01:19pm
What show?
yr pal,
joey




Blocked so far: suestorm, Master Bates
jv92
Broadway Legend
joined:11/4/05
Liza in
Posted: 11/23/13 at 01:43pm
Everyone was doing too much coke. But there are a few very nice K&E songs- "City Lights", "The Money Tree", "My Own Space", a few campy guilty pleasures- "Shine it On", "Arthur in the Afternoon", and a really bad one- "Hot Enough for You", which the guys themselves admitted was quite terrible.

I once tried reading the Samuel French script of THE ACT, and even revised post-Liza, it was nothing but a nightclub act with a lame soap opera thrown in between songs. There IS one really great cut song from THE ACT called "Please, Sir." Really a surprising and great piece of material.
Mr Roxy
Broadway Legend
joined:5/17/03
Liza in
Posted: 11/23/13 at 02:02pm
Many a cut song is better than one that is in the show

Minnies Boys has a few songs on the album that were not in the show.
Cynicism is an unpleasant way of saying the truth - Lillian Hellman.
JoeKv99
Broadway Legend
joined:12/27/04
Liza in
Posted: 11/23/13 at 02:57pm
I HIGHLY recommend hunting down the book "Second Act Trouble" and reading the chapter about "The Act." Martin Scorsese directing! Liza missing shows! Audiences groaning when a "book scene" interrupts the musical numbers! The costumes (described by one reviewer as "sadistic.") that got tossed and replaced by $100K worth of Halston gowns for Liza!

I particularly liked where the writer says something like "It did get a lot better after they cut the abortion scenes."
No good can possibly come from using this vast wasteland of error and deliberate deceit. You should get off of it and warn others away. You should make sure your children and grandchildren know what a corrupt and morally bankrupt institution it truly is.
Wilmingtom
Broadway Star
joined:7/18/11
Liza in
Posted: 11/23/13 at 03:10pm
Liza was a mess. The chorus kids would come to the theater and sit onstage with their bags, waiting to see if Liza was showing up and there would be a performance or not. At some performances, when Liza wasn't up for the dancing, she'd stumble into the wings and Claudia Asbury would dance the number. Liza would also lip-sync a few numbers if she wasn't in good voice. All of that and the fact that it was no more than a glorified nightclub act, and it introduced a new top Broadway price of $25. No one's finest moment.
Mr Roxy
Broadway Legend
joined:5/17/03
Liza in
Posted: 11/23/13 at 03:22pm
I would pay $25 for that now

I saw it and she was there and OK.Guess I should consider myself lucky. Barry Nelson was there as window dressing. It was aptly titled The Act as that is what it was - a nightclub act. If I recall these were the Studio 54 days which might explain her problems. Now her problems are different.They are simply Father Time tapping her on the shoulder and introducing himself to her.
Cynicism is an unpleasant way of saying the truth - Lillian Hellman.
GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Liza in
Posted: 11/23/13 at 03:37pm
Minnelli was fine the night I saw it and I was still bored to death. I distinctly remember taking a break at one point to sit in the lobby and read my PLAYBILL.

There was one funny joke where the chorus did a spirited number and then exited at the end so that Liza could enter and take the applause. It was funny the first time. So they did it again. I found that typical of the show.
Mr Roxy
Broadway Legend
joined:5/17/03
Liza in
Posted: 11/23/13 at 03:38pm
Not one of K/E finest hours .
Cynicism is an unpleasant way of saying the truth - Lillian Hellman.
jv92
Broadway Legend
joined:11/4/05
Liza in
Posted: 11/23/13 at 03:54pm
John Kander admitted to being at "a total loss" during THE ACT. I think he and Fred were simply trying to be professional, but didn't have their hearts in it by the time Scorsese ruined in on the coast. Again, he and Liza were snorting too much.
GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Liza in
Posted: 11/23/13 at 04:22pm
I give K&E a pass on this one. They were trying to help their friend, Liza, but, alas, the show was beyond help.
jemjeb2
Stand-by
joined:6/28/05
Liza in
Posted: 11/23/13 at 04:45pm
Wasn't this meant as a sort of sequel to "New York, New York" -the same lead character and all? That movie failed at the box office, but this show went on anyway- a disaster following a box office flop.....and so careers spiral downward. Personally I loved much of "NY, NY" and we'll alwys have "Cabaret". But wrong era in which to be a star of musicals.
GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Liza in
Posted: 11/23/13 at 04:49pm
I don't know if it was meant to be, but it was certainly received as such, perhaps unfairly. Myself, I never saw the connection, except that I stopped paying attention about halfway through both pieces.
Wilmingtom
Broadway Star
joined:7/18/11
Liza in
Posted: 11/23/13 at 05:33pm
I don't see any connection whatsoever. The characters in NY, NY were Francine Evans and Jimmy Doyle, in The Act, Michelle Craig and Dan Connors. They're set in completely different eras with completely different plots (insofar as the Act even had a plot). Maybe I'm missing something.
bobs3
Broadway Legend
joined:4/8/12
Liza in
Posted: 11/23/13 at 07:28pm
I read somewhere that Kander & Ebb wrote the show for Liza as a thank you for stepping into CHICAGO for Gwen Verdon when she became ill shortly after the show opened. Without Verdon in the lead there was fear among the producers and creative team that the musical (which received mixed reviews) would close. Liza played Roxie for about 6 weeks and was credited with saving the show from an early demise.
Mr Roxy
Broadway Legend
joined:5/17/03
Liza in
Posted: 11/23/13 at 07:51pm
Now the Chicago revival is in its what 16 th year.
Cynicism is an unpleasant way of saying the truth - Lillian Hellman.
GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Liza in
Posted: 11/23/13 at 07:54pm
^^^ I've heard that as well, but the three (Kander, Ebb, Minnelli) had personal and professional relationships that dated back to when she starred in their FLORA THE RED MENACE as a teenager. They had made one another rich and Minnelli had won an Oscar and an Emmy for a film (CABARET) and TV special Kander and/or Ebb had written.

I suspect they were past the "repaying a favor" stage.

Now, if somebody wants to claim K&E stuck with THE ACT out of their love for Liza--that I could believe.
Updated On: 11/23/13 at 07:54 PM
CarlosAlberto
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/10
Liza in
Posted: 11/23/13 at 08:13pm
I always found it funny that Mark "Major Don West" Goddard from TV's "Lost in Space" was in this. Did he have any musical numbers? Did he partake in the now-legendary coke binges that fueled this show? Inquiring minds would like to know....
beaemma
Stand-by
joined:11/24/09
Liza in
Posted: 11/23/13 at 11:29pm
I saw it as SHINE IT ON in Chicago and as THE ACT in New York. As I recall, Liza was the only character who sang, along with people in the ensemble. It was a poor play about an entertainer trying to make a comeback with a nightclub act. The musical numbers (many of them excellent) were parts of the act she was preparing.
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
Liza in
Posted: 11/23/13 at 11:54pm
I believe at one point when it was being written, it was planned to somehow connect to NY, NY, but I can't remember where I read that and I don't belie e any of that was in the show by the time it opened out of town. Of course poor Gower Champion, who wasn't in a good period of his career, took over uncredited from Scorsese out of town and they realized what a dud, and how depressing the book scenes (by George Furth) were and stripped them away as much as possible.

Here's City Lights at the Tonys http://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_2973602701&feature=iv&src_vid=cCXx86A0FOQ&v=TvAURkgx-D0
CarlosAlberto
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/10
Liza in
Posted: 11/24/13 at 08:42am
Was Barry Nelson her leading man/love interest in this? If so, what an odd pairing!
Michael Bennett
Broadway Legend
joined:3/16/05
Liza in
Posted: 11/24/13 at 11:43am
Eric, the idea for the musical stemmed from book writer, George Furth. It was his original idea for the leading lady to be older - someone with a past in movie musicals, now trying to make a comeback -- and he originally worked on the project with Marvin Hamlisch as a vehicle for Shirley MacLaine.

That idea, for reasons I don't know, went by the wayside, and eventually Furth teamed with Kander and Ebb to do the score and Liza at that time apparently heard about the project (this was during NEW YORK NEW YORK) and requested to play the role AND to have Martin Scorcese direct.

Scorcese has said he was initially drawn to the idea as a vehicle to explore where the character of Francine (of NEW YORK NEW YORK) would be ten years later, but that he abandoned that concept, in part, because that would require Liza to play a character with an age of 50 plus (she was 32 at the time).

He did however try to keep the almost melodramatic tone of despair of NEW YORK NEW YORK, which apparently is what made the script of the early out of town tryouts something of a camp fest.
Jack Hughes
Swing
joined:3/23/07
Liza in
Posted: 11/24/13 at 01:28pm
Even though I saw the show I can't be certain whether it was any good or not because I was between 12 and 14. What I remember is that it was the first show I ever saw in which there was this unbelievable connection between an audience and a star that was a little mysterious to me but really exciting. This may be the fault of bad memory or the skewed perspective of a kid but my recollection was that it was like watching the greatest Vegas act ever broken up by not overly compelling (or long) dramatic vignettes. Every once in a while I'll look at a video or listen to a song from the show just to see if I was right that I happened to be dragged into something kind of special despite the bad reputation -- and I still think it's got about half a dozen production numbers or ballads that are really exceptional. And at least on the night I saw it somebody giving everything she had to please a very responsive audience.
Mr Roxy
Broadway Legend
joined:5/17/03
Liza in
Posted: 11/24/13 at 02:25pm
The cast CD is on a really obscure label unheard of for K/E and for LIZA in her prime.
Cynicism is an unpleasant way of saying the truth - Lillian Hellman.
jv92
Broadway Legend
joined:11/4/05
Liza in
Posted: 11/24/13 at 02:55pm
DRG has produced many cast recordings, and really isn't so obscure a label as you claim.

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