SECC, Glasgow, Fri 6 Jun
There aren’t many people for whom the word ‘legend’ is applicable, but Liza Minnelli is certainly one of them. Tales of marital woe and substance abuse may have dogged her personal life, but Minnelli’s career highlights put most people’s in the shade. With copious column inches devoted to divorce, drugs and dieting, it’s easy to forget that the daughter of Judy Garland and Vincente Minnelli has racked up an Oscar, an Emmy, three Tony Awards, two Golden Globes and a Grammy.
Playing Glasgow as part of a UK tour, Minnelli will perform classic showstoppers such as ‘Cabaret’, ‘Maybe This Time’ and ‘New York, New York’. Having worked as an actor, dancer and singer, does Minnelli have a preferred way of communicating with an audience? ‘I think it all comes from the same place,’ she says. ‘Singing is acting with music, dancing is acting with your body. I started as a dancer, so that’s really my first love, and then everything else fell into place because I wanted to be on Broadway.’
Hailing from such a famous family, accusations of nepotism must have been rife in the early days. At what point did Minnelli feel she was accepted on her own merit? ‘I think it was when I won my first Tony Award,’ she says. ‘I never did anything in Hollywood, I thought making movies was boring. For a kid to witness it, it’s so dull, they do it over and over again. So when I went to Broadway, it wasn’t our family business, that was film, so it was a whole new thing.’
Almost 60 years after her first performance, Minnelli is still going strong and will pepper her show with anecdotes from her life both onstage and off. But is it possible to create an intimate atmosphere in a large theatre? ‘Oh God, sure,’ she says. ‘That’s why I keep the lights up a little, so I can see everybody. I’m very open on stage and can feel what an audience likes. When I’m talking to somebody in the crowd, I’ve been told that everyone feels like I’m talking to them, which is a wonderful compliment.’