Hannah Lauren Wilson

Liza’s a cabaret, old chum

Triangle's "Liza! Liza! Liza!" offers a triple dose of Minnelli in show-stopping song and story

The stage is on fire with the radiance of millions of sequins and the over-the-top soprano arias, moving into a hint of silvery vibrato, that made Liza Minnelli a star of stage and screen. Triangle Productions’s newest show willkommens, bienvenues the United States premiere of Liza! Liza! Liza!, an intimate portrait of the manic, pixie-haired diva.

Imagine an evening in a small lounge while Liza delivers her hits and shares the story of her life. This alone is the devil giving his come-hither finger. But on stage are not one Ms. Minnelli, not two, but three. We get the young, vivacious, and eager Liza; the middle-aged, accomplished, and sensual Liza; and the older, sadder, but wiser Liza. They all take on her signature bubbly speaking voice with its sexy and breathy laugh, creating a magic blood harmony of a similar woman’s voice as it changes with her years.

The three Lizas, belting 'em out. Triangle Productions photo.

The three Lizas, belting ’em out. Triangle Productions photo.

More than twenty-four of Liza’s songs provide the soundtrack of her train-wreck life. She’s a Hollywood blue-blood, but her life is punctuated by calamity and her overwhelming drive to have the show go on. The play – by Richard Harris, whose other famous work includes The Avengers British television show – approaches her life and art with sensitivity. Liza struggles with her body image, family history of addiction, chaotic love affairs, illness. Forget (if you can) that she’s Liza Minnelli, and her problems are the same ones many women combat. This puts Liza’s feet firmly on the earth, despite her stardom. In an age when celebrity pretends to be goddess-like in its perfection, it’s refreshing to know that some of our heroes can be great creative forces at least partly because of the obstacles they face and overcome.

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