14 March 2013
Liza & Alan
I just got home from one of the best nights of theatre I've seen in a long time (or maybe ever). Liza Minnelli and Alan Cumming at Town Hall, their second of two sold-out nights. It was in one word, amazing. For a little over two wonderful hours Liza and Alan sang, danced a bit, told some stories, and had everyone cheering.
Opening together with "Nowadays" and "I Move On" from Chicago, the two took turns entertaining the audience with Alan singing, among others, a mash-up of Adele, Katy Perry, and Lady Gaga and "Falling Slowly" from Once while Liza sang some of her classics including "New York, New York" and "Liza With a Z." Between his songs Alan shared a few stories including how the show originated one hot summer on Fire Island ("Liza came to Fire Island. Can you imagine? It was like a Papal visit."). The two joined each other again for a selection of songs from Cabaret, switching the roles they're famous for with Liza singing "Willkommen" and Alan "Mein Herr" before they performed "Money" and Liza dazzled everyone with "Cabaret." They closed with a sweet rendition of the Gershwin's "Love is Here to Stay" and received multiple curtain calls.
Alan Cumming showed just how talented he is. From singing various types of songs to playing an original composition on the piano to telling hilarious stories, he was completely entertaining. I feel there's little he couldn't do and do well. Liza was simply Liza. She was out of breath a lot, mixed up the lyrics a couple of times, stopped to rip off her false eyelashes at one point, and spent a lot of time sitting in a director's chair (she explained that she had hurt her ankle). But when she was singing there was no doubt that you were watching a legend and a star (and one whose mannerisms more than once brought to mind her mother). Her every entrance on stage was greeted with a standing ovation as were most of her songs. The audience loved her, and she gave them her all.
Tuesday Liza turned 67. At the end of the show, Alan had the audience sing Happy Birthday to her. The whole night was one incredible celebration of musical theatre and two of its best. And I wouldn't have missed it for the world.