Q&A: Liza Minnelli Talks Hollywood Bowl Show, More
July 11, 2012 | by —Michelle Ward
Photograph courtesy © Sony Music Archives | Homepage
As Broadway’s most iconic performer, Liza Minnelli had been entertaining audiences for over 50 years. Now, Minnelli is bringing her legendary voice to The Hollywood Bowl for a special one-performance-only concert on August 11.
The show will be an intimate mix of classic Minnelli songs as well as those from her latest albums, Confessions and Live a the Winter Garden, the latter a live collection from her historic 1974 concert series Liza which played at the Winter Garden Theater and garnered her a special Tony Award. We caught up with the multi-talented Tony, Oscar, Grammy, Golden Globe, and Emmy winner about her upcoming show, past inspirations, and why she’ll never retire.
Having been inducted into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame for your many performances there, what makes coming to The Hollywood Bowl so special?
LIZA MINNELLI: I think the aura that surrounds it and its history, and the fact that it’s so wide open. You’re singing to the stars. It’s wonderful. And being in LA, I get to see all my friends and my family.
How will this concert stand out?
LM: It’s much more intimate then any concert I’ve ever done. It’s not written, I just say whatever comes to mind.
In addition to your classics 'New York, New York' and 'Cabaret,' you’ll also be singing songs from your albums Live at the Winter Garden and Confessions. Tell us a little about the inspiration for these albums.
LM: I loved the Winter Garden—it’s the biggest theater on Broadway and I had a really good time because [in 1974] all my friends were around. After the show I could go over and meet some of my dancer friends on Broadway, and go to Joe Allen. I was just being home. It was a great experience and it’s thrilling because there are songs on it that I forgot I sang!
Confessions is a very, very intimate album. I had broken my ankle and had to stay in bed for six weeks. I thought I’d go nuts, so I called [Grammy-winning composer] Billy Stritch and said, 'please come over, we have to sing something, anything,' and he said ‘sure, honey.’ So he came over and we started remembering all these terrific love songs that were a little unusual—some well known and some not known at all—and we put them down. And the record company loved it and said 'we want to release this.'
What’s a favorite song from the album, and why?
LM: 'I’m One Of The Smart Ones.' It’s a character song, which are my favorites, where you play a different character in each song. In other words, there are words on one page of my script and on the other page is the description of the woman that I am—what color hair does she have, where does she live, what details are on her refrigerator—a whole character breakdown. It’s very specific; this show was about a girl in San Francisco who was determined to make it, so it’s about this funny ambition.
You're currently on a 75-city international tour and you always bring so much excitement and energy to every performance. What drives you to keep performing?
LM: I love it. It’s great fun for me. It’s one of the things that I do and every place I go I have friends, so I’m always going to visit people.
You’ve accomplished so much in your 50-year career. Is there anything you want to accomplish that you haven’t yet?
LM: I want to do everything I did, better.
Do you ever see yourself retiring?
Fashion shoot: December 2013 issue of Los Angeles Confidential magazine.