BWW Reviews: Endearing LIZA Minnelli Performs at Walt Disney Concert Hall
The one and only Liza Minnelli performed last night March 25 in Los Angeles, making her concert debut at the Walt Disney Hall downtown in her new show entitled Simply Liza. Her reception was incredible; with a multitude of standing ovations throughout from members of the packed house, it was obvious that the lady is still very much adored. In spite of some difficulty in walking and standing for a very long time, Liza gave her fans what they wanted, she put on one helluva show. She sat in a large director's chair while singing much of the time, kicking her feet in steady rhythms as if she were dancing. Later in the 100 minute one-act set she affectionately patted her chair and said she wanted to give it - her dear friend - a name. Adorable! Her rhythm, her intense passion for the music, the stage and for her audience is still very much a part of her. Liza is a true showman, has a fiercely funny sense of humor, loves being in front of her fans and adores her audience right back. When I saw her do The Act on Broadway in 1977, she amazed me with her vitality, stamina and nonstop dancing moves. Now some 40 years later, as much as I wanted to see the exact same Liza, it took me a while to realize... that I was. Her very presence lifted me and made me feel good. She is still amazing!
She gets her sense of humor from her mother, Judy Garland. It's definitely her own, but there were times I felt like I was watching Judy. In her later years, if Judy couldn't hit a high note, she would not raise her arm. She shared this tidbit with Jack Paar on his show. She was brutally honest and oh so lovable. When Liza doesn't quite hit or sustain the high notes, as with "New York, New York" - she made a whole humorous production out of anticipating the final bars - it doesn't matter, because she is Liza, she is there, never giving up, giving it her best shot, entertaining us through and through and for that alone, she merits our deepest appreciation and love.
Backing up Liza was remarkable musical director Billy Stritch at the piano. The other six stellar musicians were: Chip Wilson on bass, Brian Brake on drums, Bill Hayes on percussion, Ross Konikoff on trumpet, Dave Trigg also on trumpet and Dan Willis on reeds, many of whom have been with Liza throughout her performing years.