Friday, December 5, 2008

Lastly, Liza!

Lastly, Liza Minelli has a new show on Broadway. Anytime she performs, half the entertainment is seeing what the critics do with her. Some fun posts.

AM New York
In her new show, is Liza the toast or the train wreck of Broadway? She’s kind of both. At Wednesday’s opening night performance, not only did Act One and Act Two feel like completely different shows, they also displayed different versions of Liza.

Act One was pretty problematic. In between forced, mostly spoke-through performances of “Maybe This Time” and “Cabaret,” Liza appeared like a marionette on strings on the verge of falling down. In between songs, she panted desperately for breath and her hands shook. We couldn’t understand a single lyric she uttered in any song.

But Act Two was fantastic.

The (giddy) New York Times
I wish I had met Kay Thompson, the creative whirlwind who inspirits the second act of Liza Minnelli’s new show, “Liza’s at the Palace ...,” or simply had the chance to sit at her feet and absorb her presence. From the moment Ms. Minnelli joins forces with a male singing and dancing quartet to resurrect parts of a famous nightclub act Thompson created in the late 1940s and early ’50s with the Williams Brothers, the Palace Theater blasts off into orbit.

There it remains, deliriously spinning until the end of a 2-hour-20-minute show (with intermission) that leaves the star in a state of breathless exaltation. The end of the opening-night show on Wednesday found Ms. Minnelli panting, drenched in sweat, her hair matted, as if she had just finished running the New York marathon, which in a sense she had....

...I would love to report that Ms. Minnelli’s voice and physical agility have been magically restored to their former glory, but those days seem to be gone. On Wednesday night her voice was in tatters, her diction unsteady. When she belted, her wide vibrato wobbled to the breaking point. Most of her s’s were slurred sh’s. Frequently short of breath, she swallowed phrases. Many of her highest notes were dry, piercing caws.

New York Times Slide Show

The New York Post
Sorry to disappoint all you vultures out there, but she's done it again: "Liza's at the Palace . . . !" is the sort of late-career triumph of which show-business mythology is made.

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