Liza Minnelli turns 66 today, and could rightfully relax, look back and celebrate over six decades in show business. But the daughter of Judy Garland and Vincente Minnelli, who made her first onscreen appearance as a baby in 1949’s MGM extravaganza In the Good Old Summertime, has never been one to rest on her considerable laurels. Minnelli is still touring, recording and doing what she does best: entertaining, whether on the big screen (Sex and the City 2), the small screen (Arrested Development) or onstage. Masterworks Broadway will, on April 3, give the deluxe treatment to one of the few milestones in Minnelli’s career not previously revisited: Live at the Winter Garden.
In 1974, the multi-hyphenate talent was riding high, having taken home a Best Actress Academy Award for her incendiary performance as Sally Bowles in Bob Fosse’s film version of Cabaret, as well as an Emmy Award for Outstanding Single Program – Variety and Popular Music for Liza with a “Z,” also helmed by the visionary Fosse. So it was probably inevitable that Minnelli and Fosse would reteam in their natural habitat: onstage.
Liza Minnelli, just 27 years old and already a superstar, took the stage at Broadway’s Winter Garden Theatre (today the home of Mamma Mia!) on January 6, 1974 for a series of 24 sold-out concerts, setting a house record at the venerable theatre. The concert itself, directed and co-choreographed by Fosse, was simply entitled Liza, and there was no doubt of the surname. Columbia Records, to which Minnelli had recently been signed, was on hand to record the event. It boasted special material by longtime friends John Kander and Fred Ebb (Cabaret, Chicago) and musical coordination by another Academy Award winner, Marvin Hamlisch. Columbia released the album in April when the shows were still fresh in fans’ minds, but the original LP was soon withdrawn due to legal wrangling with the rights holders to the Cabaret soundtrack, unhappy that Minnelli’s famous songs from the film were now available on a competing release.
Hit the jump for much more on this classic LP, including the complete track listing and links to order and hear samples!
Now, Live at the Winter Garden is back, expanded with three live bonus tracks from the same concerts: Stevie Wonder’s “You and I,” as well as the classic standards “It Had to Be You” and “My Shining Hour.” For this release, Minnelli has reflected, “The thing about doing a show like Liza is that every song means something. Fred and John were so brilliant at building a show, plus I had Marvin, so we tried all kinds of different rundowns and finally came up with what you hear on the album, and thank God it worked! But you keep trying, and don’t get satisfied with anything but the best. It brings back so many memories. I always feel like I’ve never done anything. It’s true! So to have this come out, and to be reminded of how it was and how it was received, it’s just lovely!”
Chances are, many fans will too find it lovely to have the original Phil Ramone-engineered album finally remastered on CD. Minnelli’s eclectic repertoire for the LP includes Kander and Ebb favorites plus pop hits such as Johnny Nash’s “I Can See Clearly Now,” smoky Charles Aznavour chansons “And I In My Chair” and “There is a Time,” and even Gordon Lightfoot’s “If You Could Read My Mind.”
Liza with a “Z” was rewarded with a Special Tony Award for her Liza concerts, awarded for “adding luster to the Broadway season.” That luster is captured on Live at the Winter Garden, and it can be yours on CD and digital download exclusively from Masterworks Broadway beginning on April 3. You’ll actually find the CD priced at a budget-conscious $9.98 at Sony’s direct link, less expensive than the download! The album will become available to all retailers beginning May 8, and you can order below at Amazon. Sound clips are available at Liza’s own website. Happy Birthday, Miss Minnelli!
Liza Minnelli, Live at the Winter Garden (Columbia LP PC 32854, 1974 – reissued Masterworks Broadway, 2012)
- Overture: Liza With A “Z”/Ring Them Bells/I Can See Clearly Now/Maybe This Time/Cabaret
- If You Could Read My Mind/Come Back To Me
- Shine On Harvest Moon
- Exactly Like Me
- The Circle
- More Than You Know
- I’m One Of The Smart Ones
- Natural Man
- I Can See Clearly Now
- And I In My Chair (Et Moi Dans Mon Coin)
- There Is A Time (Le Temps)
- A Quiet Thing
- Anywhere You Are/ I Believe You
- Cabaret Medley
- Curtain Bows / Cabaret
- You and I (Bonus Track)
- It Had to Be You (Bonus Track)
- My Shining Hour (Bonus Track)