Culture

Liza Minnelli Returns to Broadway Palace Theatre

Legendary for her talent, family history—and messy personal life—Liza Minnelli returns to Broadway's Palace Theatre with a new one-woman show, "Liza's At the Palace!". She spoke with NEWSWEEK's Nicki Gostin. Excerpts:

NEWSWEEK: This show is partly a tribute to Kay Thompson, the author of "Eloise." Did she give you autographed copies?
Liza Minnelli:
Well, she was my godmother and the last couple of years of her life she lived with me in my home and I took care of her. She was an incredible woman. She didn't need to autograph Eloise books for me. We were too close for that.

Do you think it's true that you were the inspiration for Eloise?
I don't know. I remember her pretending to be the Eloise character a long time before the book came out. She had this little girl's voice and she would say hilarious things.

Why did you decide to do this show?
It got booked. This show has evolved so beautifully. I started thinking about it two years ago and then slowly but surely I got Ron Lewis involved in directing and doing the choreographer. He's probably my favorite choreographer I've ever worked with.

More than Bob Fosse?
Oh, I love Bob Fosse too, but in terms of just movement I've always loved Ron.

I don't want to be mean but I'm a bit worried about you. It's a tough schedule. You're 62.
I'm also an athlete. Don't worry about me, honey. I'm doing just fine. Trust me.

'Cause you had the hip operations?
Thank God, before a hip operation you feel like you're never going to move again and then you have it, it's a miraculous thing, you can dance and you can sing and walk, it's wonderful.

You must have a million friends coming backstage after every show. You just can't lea ve and go home to bed.
Why do you think you know all these things? You've never talked to me before. You're assuming. Why don't you let me tell you. No, the people that I know do come backstage and then I go to have something to eat and I go back home. I'm very disciplined. I always have been. I was trained on Broadway. But I do love to go after the show to somewhere like Joe Allen's and hang with my friends. It's wonderful.

Is there any celebrity you'd like to meet?
There are a couple of directors in Italy that I haven't met. I like to meet people too who aren't in my business because I like to meet people who are passionate about what they do, like you.

I'll go to Joe Allen's with you.
I'd love that! You've got a date.

Really?
Absolutely. I promise.

I hate to tell you that I don't believe you.
Well I'm going to surprise you. You're going to know me for the rest of your life and I'm going to surprise you a lot.

If I went out for dinner with you I'd feel like I died and went to heaven.
Oh honey, you'd feel like that for about three minutes and then you'd realize you're just sitting with another person.

I'd be sitting with Liza with a Z—hello!!
Well, thank you, baby.

Are you dating anyone?
No.

Are you looking?
No! Are you nuts?

You need a civilian.
Honey, I don't need anyone, which is thrilling to finally say. I love waking up being who I am and not who someone else wants me to be because I tend to do that. I'll become whoever somebody else wants me to be.

Tell me something about yourself that would surprise people.
I walk my dogs down Lexington Avenue every day.

Being in New York you have to pick up after them.
Of course I do! Honey, I have to do everything that everyone else has to do and that's just fine with me.

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