Feature

Liza’s at the Palace

<em>Liza&rsquo;s at the Palace</em> is &ldquo;100 percent fantastic entertainment,&rdquo; said Joe Dziemianowicz in the New York <em>Daily News. </em>Liza Minnelli is in top form.&nbsp;

Liza’s at the PalacePalace Theatre New York(212) 307-4100

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There’s a standard set of questions to be asked about any Liza Minnelli show,” said David Rooney in Variety. How’d she look? How’d she sound? “Was she fabulous or a train wreck?” The answers in this case are “terrific,” “pretty darn good,” and “kinda fabulous.” This is somewhat remarkable when you consider that in the nearly 10 years since her last revue, the 62-year-old Minnelli has had two hip replacements, knee surgery, encephalitis, more than a few addictions, and one very strange and public divorce. Put that all out of your mind. From her first moment onstage, spiky-haired, Halston-clad, and striking her signature one-arm-aiming-skyward pose, “Liza with a Z” proves she can still hold an audience “in the palm of her hand.” 

“The first act puts Minnelli alone at center stage before 12 marvelous musicians,” said Joe Dziemianowicz in the New York Daily News. “Starting with a sensual version of ‘Teach Me Tonight’ that leads to familiar tunes like ‘My Own Best Friend,’” she launches into her greatest hits. “Cabaret” recalls her doe-eyed, gamine days, and she even re-creates the “Palace Medley” originally sung by her mother, Judy Garland, on the same stage in 1951. The second act is devoted to Minnelli’s godmother, Kay Thompson, whose unique tempos and harmonies “changed nightclubs forever.” Minnelli still has a tendency to sometimes mistake “volume for tone,” but her voice sounds better here than it has in ages, which helps make Liza’s at the Palace “100 percent fantastic entertainment.”

“Minnelli is not having a comeback so much as an actual resurrection,” said Linda Winer in Newsday. Forget the unflattering tabloid photographs or rumors of mental breakdowns. Liza’s back to skinny pants and sparkling smocks, and she wants to make sure we all know that “her legs still start around her armpits.” She doesn’t hit every note these days, “though she didn’t always in the old days.” But her phrasing remains outstanding, and her enthusiasm unparalleled. Few contemporary female performers work so hard to win an audience’s love, and few receive as much love in return. Minnelli, like Garland, has lived through “ups and downs” in showbiz. This definitely counts as an “up.”

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