Liza Minnelli played the Hollywood Bowl this weekend, and the incessant gigglers in the audience were clearly nervous about which Minnelli was going to show up.
The answer turned out to be both.
This two-night engagement, straightforwardly titled “An Evening With Liza Minnelli” and featuring pianist and musical director Billy Stritch, a sumptuous-sounding orchestra conducted by drummer Mike Berkowitz and a heat wave that had Minnelli worried she might wilt, flaunted some of the best and the worst of its inimitable star.
Her belter’s voice was unreliable on Friday night, booming one moment then reduced to a croak the next.
In short, the only thing that remained intact was her singular genius for being "Liza."
The incomparable Sammy Davis and Liza ( above )
She seemed to exhaust her cardio endurance with a fun if incoherently antic version of “If You Hadn’t but You Did” and a lively though ultimately cryptic interpretation of “What Makes a Man a Man.”
Vocally, Minnelli could never hold a candle to her mother, Judy Garland, a truth reconfirmed by her nonetheless rousing “Palace Medley.”
Which brings to mind an indisputable truth:
-- Charles McNulty
Photos: Liza Minnelli at the Hollywood Bowl.