It was a little wild outside the Ziegfeld Theater last night. There were so many people outside when I arrived that I thought they had not let the audience inside yet. Turns out these were the 400 or so people who couldn’t get in. The place was filled to capacity between invited guests, Turner Classic Movie and Warner Home Video employees, and actual fans. So Warner Home Video announced they were giving new DVDs to the fans outside. Did it happen? (You tell me– firstname.lastname@example.org).
Meantime, for a movie about debauchery, starring a Hollywood and Broadway legend (Liza Minnelli) who is the daughter of a tragic mega legend (Judy Garland), directed by larger than life personality (Bob Fosse), “Cabaret” has survived nicely. The four principal actors are still here, and making the rounds– Minnelli, Joel Grey, Michael York, and Marisa Berenson. York is frightfully ill with something, but plugging along and everyone loves him. Berenson is absolutely gorgeous, unchanged it seems, a natural beauty. Joel Grey, we see all the time, and he’s terrific. And then there’s Liza.
Minnelli sat with TCM’s Robert Osborne at the bottom of the steep stairs to the Ziegfeld’s “green room,” just inside the little door from the lobby. These two were not climbing that flight. She moved to a chair in the wings at the top of the aisle down to the stage area. When her name was called–”Liza!”– the entire theater jumped up and gave her a massive standing ovation as she sailed down to the spotlight. She knows how to make an entrance.
Our PAULA SCHWARTZ observes:
When someone asked Minnelli, now 66, what she thought of movie musicals Hollywood was making now, she said, “I’m just glad they’re making them.” What did she think of “Les Miz”? “I didn’t see ‘Les Miz.’ You know I just got back from a tour.” It was a great way to evade the question that every other person on the red carpet asked her.
Looking back, she was asked about the hardest part about playing Sally Bowles. “Nothing. I knew her. I was directed brilliantly. I loved doing it. And it was so differently done.” When I asked what it was like to see the film celebrated tonight, she sighed, “Oh it’s wonderful! I wish Fosse were here! You know, it’s all about him.”
I asked her about filming “Smash,” and she would only say that she sings on the show and that she had a good time shooting it.
Before she dashed into the theater, Minnelli, who was dressed in a big fur poncho, responded to a remark by a reporter who said the cast seemed to get along so well. “We had such a good time. We were so isolated. They didn’t know what to do with us. Nazi musical. Send them to Germany,” she laughed. “And they did it, and it worked.”
(Arlene Dahl, Bernadette Peters, Alan Cumming and Phyllis Newman were in the audience and TCM host Robert Osborne introduced them before a Q&A with the cast.)
Minnelli told Osborne, “I asked my father, [egendary director Vincent Minnelli], after he saw the film, what did you think of the film, daddy?’ And he said, ‘It’s strange and wonderful.”