Liza with a Zed
Liza with a Zed

One of the most exciting things I’ve done recently is book tickets for Liza Minnelli’s performance at the Sydney Opera House in October.

When pre-sale tickets went online, I was there hitting re-fresh as the bookings website went into melt-down mode.

I’ve put a copy of the seating plan on my window at work with x’s where are seats are located (great seats, by the way) which always gives everyone at work a warm smile.

I suspect my workmates think it’s “all a bit gay” that I’m excited about seeing Liza, but I can assure you it’s a long-term and genuine desire I have. From an early age (like 5 or 6), I loved Judy Garland, Liza MInnelli etc. Make of that what you will.

Anyway, in anticipation of this all, Sydney Film Festival this year has had a special screening of “Liza with a Z”, a made for television program from the early 1970s, recently restored, and so tonight Colin and I went along.

Oh my God, it was amazing. The energy levels, the strength of her performance, the goose-bump-inducing moment when she sang (though not overtly) about her mother’s death. It was an amazing performance.

For the first ten or fifteen minutes of the screening, you could sense the audience was wanting to applaud, though of course that’s something you never do at the movies, is it? After a while though they relented, and when Liza gave a great performance, they responded with applause.

One of the night’s plans, to have a hook up with Liza, didn’t eventuate. It would have been six o’clock in the morning for Liza and she’d just won a Tony Award for the show she’s bringing to Australia. I think the whole theatre understood completely it was just not going to happen, given Liza’s lifetime of parties, drugs and alcohol.

And in some ways it was probably for the best. “Liza with a Z” is about youthful energy. Her performance in October will be much different. She’s in her 60s now. To contrast the two probably wouldn’t have worked. It would have been a disappointment in some ways. I think it’s best to separate the two performances with three or four months in between.

What a great show, though.

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