Happy Birthday to the one and only Liza Minnelli
Whether you know her from her Academy Award-winning role as Sally Bowles in Bob Fosse’s musical film, Cabaret or from one of her many albums – there’s so much to love about this lady.
Let’s take a little stroll down memory lane and see where Liza began!
Liza (All The Clouds’ll Roll Away)
It’s no surprise that Liza has such talent. She is Judy Garland’s daughter, who you might know from The Wizard of Oz and Vincent Minelli, who was well known in Hollywood for his work as a director. Judy Garland and Vincent Minnelli named Liza after Ira Gershwin’s song, “Liza (All The Clouds’ll Roll Away.”) Liza’s first performance experience was at the very young age of 3, where she appeared on film in “In the Good Old Summertime.” It wasn’t long before Liza moved to the Big Apple, where she attended the High School of Performing Arts and later, Chadwick School.
Best foot forward
Liza soon began her career as a professional actress. Her first performance in New York City was the off-Broadway revival of Best Foot Forward. Have you heard of it? Not something we regular musical theatre kids actively know, but it is said to have paved the way for musicals like Oklahoma due to its comedy and catchy tunes. Critics agreed that the show’s “youthful exuberance” was a bit too much, and while the musical wasn’t a huge hit, Liza received strong reviews.
Her first leading Broadway role was in the musical “Flora, The Red Menace”, where she played the title character. The musical only ran for a few weeks, but that didn’t stop Liza from being recognised. That year she won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical and at only 19 was one of the youngest actors ever to win!
Kander & Ebb
After her Broadway debut, it was not long before her relationship began with the famous American composer John Kander & lyricist Fred Ebb. Kander & Ebb wrote, produced, and directed lots of material with Liza. “New York New York”, “Maybe This Time” “Cabaret” – to name a few. These songs soon became anthems and shaped Liza into the performer and personality we know her to be. (Hint- It’s always a good idea to add some Kander & Ebb to your book!)
With endless musical, TV, and Film credits, not to mention her iconic status, Liza is genuinely one of a kind. She helped shape musical theatre into what it is today, and we admire her work. Happiest of birthday’s Liza – cheers to many more!