In 1973, my mother brought home the soundtrack recording of Liza With a Z, a television special starring Liza Minelli and conceived by Bob Fosse, John Kander and Fred Ebb. (All had recently celebrated a triumph with the movie version of Cabaret.) Within a few weeks, I knew every lyric, and I'd choreographed my own version of every song. I decided Liza was the height of urban sophistication, though I knew little of the dazzling, sexy, heart-breaking, optimistic world of show biz which Liza sang about in these 11 songs.
Why is this relevant to Upright & Stowed? Two reasons. Two years.
In 1977, I came to New York for the first time, with the drama club of my high school (big surprise). Liza With a Z had planted the New York City bug, and my high school trip was part of following that curiosity. It was seven of the most amazing days of my life. I saw A Chorus Line, Pippin, The Wiz, Chicago, and Annie, not to mention a taping of the 10,000 Pyramid. This is a picture of me atop the World Trade Center during that trip. I fell in love with New York that year, and I've lived here for most of the past 22 years.
Now for the second relevancy. Last night, I attended a glittering, star-studded screening of Liza With a Z at the Ziegfeld theater. It was in honor of Liza's 60th birthday, and in anticipation of Showtime's screening of this absolutely amazing archive on April 1. The television special has not been seen since 1973. [By the way, huge thanks to my friend Allen, who works at Showtime and took me as his guest.]
The evening was incredible. Liza walked past me, I told her she was awesome, and she replied with a hurried but heartfelt "Thank you!" And I woke up this morning reflecting on how grateful I am that traveling has enabled a lifelong journey of growth, fun, discovery, and the occasional brush with glamour.