By Stephan Horbelt
LIZA—if you name it, she’s accomplished it, and undoubtedly excelled at it. Her show business pedigree requires no enumeration, really, as her nearly five decades of accomplishments have been so very well-documented—and besides, who on Earth has the time to recall such a lengthy syllabus?
In short, Liza Minnelli is part of a select group of individuals whose accolades and distinctions not only span the gamut but have widened it as well. Bestowed with honors left and right—an Academy Award, a BAFTA, two Golden Globes, an Emmy, a Grammy Living Legend Award, four Tony Awards and copious nominations, to scratch the surface—it appears the only thing she has not attempted is the art of relaxation.
To this day—63 years after her first on-screen appearance, 47 years since her first Tony Award and 12 years in the wake of a potentially career-haulting bout of encephalitis—we’re still unable to count Liza down for the count. This month, the iconic performer returns to Southern California, performing with a full band and MenAlive, the Orange County Gay Men’s Chorus, in a Winter Spectacular at Segerstrom Hall that can only be described as fitting a living legend.
Liza began her career in the entertainment industry onstage, and while she has very successfully ventured into film and television—her celebrated performance in 1972’s Cabaret perhaps her most recognized accomplishment, with contributions to Arthur, Arrested Development, Sex and the City 2 and Saturday Night Live also among her résumé—it seems that Liza always returns to the artform that initially sparked her interest.
“I don’t know what keeps me coming back to the stage,” the living legend had to say over the phone while on a rehearsal break. “I just remember when I saw my first Broadway show and thought, oh man. See, I wanted to be an ice skater; then I saw Bye Bye Birdie and thought, maybe I’d rather do that. All the kids were in it and everything—it looked like such fun.”
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