News Column

Legendary Liza Minnelli ready to give fans what they want at Caesars Saturday [Press of Atlantic City (NJ)]

September 25, 2013

YellowBrix

Liza Minnelli likes to give her devoted fans what they want, so she's sure to include their most requested numbers -- "New York, New York," "Liza With a Z" and "Maybe This Time" -- when she hits the stage this weekend in Atlantic City.

Otherwise, the Tony-, Oscar-, Grammy- and Emmy-winning singer/actress knows she'll hear from them.

"People are wonderful -- they tell you what they think, I love that," says Minnelli, who performs 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, at Caesars Atlantic City. "I've always had wonderful audiences (in Atlantic City). A lot of people come back again and again, and that's thrilling. I just like the whole atmosphere. It's easy, but it's sophisticated."

Along with her most-requested tunes, Minnelli is sure to bring out show-stopping numbers such as the title track from "Cabaret," "But The World Goes 'Round" from "New York, New York" and a standard such as "Alexander's Ragtime Band."

Minnelli also is offering more intimate moments: "I Must Have that Man" from her 2010 album "Confessions" (Decca U.S.) and "What Makes a Man" by one of her favorite songwriters, Charles Aznavour.

However, Minnelli isn't planning to perform a new song associated with the HBO series "Boardwalk Empire," which is set in 1920s Atlantic City. Minnelli, along with Elvis Costello and Patti Smith, are among the artists featured on "Boardwalk Empire, Vol. 2" (ABKCO Records), a collection of standards from the era.

Minnelli takes on the bluesy number "You've Got To See Mama Ev'ry Night (Or You Can't See Mama At All)," but hasn't yet arranged it for the stage.

"I had a great old time. I tried to do it a little like Sophie Tucker because that's the era," she says.

Minnelli similarly had a blast reprising her small-screen role as Lucille Austero -- aka Lucille 2 -- in the recently released fourth season of "Arrested Development" on Netflix.

"The show is so smart," Minnelli says. "She's a wonderful character, and I love doing comedy."

Even when Minnelli is performing in concert, the four-time Tony winner takes a character-driven approach to her work.

"For me, (each performance) has to be in character, and it has to be absolutely real," Minnelli explains. "It's an acting piece -- each song is like a little movie."

Despite having created the character of Sally Bowles for the 1972 big-screen version of "Cabaret," Minnelli has no problem with others taking on the role. Michelle Williams will be the latest Sally in the upcoming Broadway revival. Minnelli won a Best Actress Academy Award for her work in the film.

"I'm thrilled -- I love Michelle," Minnelli says. "But the play is so different from the movie that you really can't compare them."

Soon after taking the stage in A.C., Minnelli will reunite with her half-sister Lorna Luft for two benefit shows in October at Birdland in New York for The Phyllis Newman Women's Health Initiative of The Actors Fund and Tower Cancer Research Foundation.

The Lorna's Pink Party dates will mark Minnelli's first stage appearance in 20 years with her half-sister, who is also a stage actress and nightclub performer.

The two, whose mother is the legendary Judy Garland, last performed together at the 1993 Tony Awards ceremony, but they got their start at a much earlier age.

"When we were little, we (performed) all the time in the nursery," Minnelli recalls. "Because I'm seven years older, I was so bossy with her. We both grew up around music -- it just felt so good."

Is Minnelli still the bossy older sister?

"No, she bosses me around now," Minnelli says jokingly.

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