Home Celebrity Liza With a Z Visits Valerie with an R (“Rhoda”) on Broadway

Friday night on Broadway: Liza Minnelli and pal Michael Feinstein visited Valerie Harper backstage after one of her last performances in the play, “Looped.” Harper makes for a marvelous Tallulah Bankhead, the celebrity actress of the 40s, 50s, and 60s who boozed, drugged, and slept her way back and forth between Hollywood and Broadway.Bankhead was the original bad girl, Paris, Lindsay, and Britney all rolled into one.

Harper is really brilliant and never a caricature as she portrays the star in her waning days. She deserves a Tony nomination for her excellent work. She is a comic assassin, able to deliver devastating lines and keep moving. While the play isn’t perfect, Harper is riveting. I hope the Tony committee doesn’t write her off as “Rhoda” from TV come to impress on Broadway. She’s too good not to be taken seriously.

Minnelli and Feinstein were wowed and told Harper so. But I winced a little since much of Tallulah’s life seemed similar to Minnelli’s. She was a good sport about it, though, and in fine form following knee replacement surgery from January.

Why is “Looped” closing? The word is a backer backed out at the last minute. It’s too bad. This show should move to off Broadway, like the Lucille Lortel downtown. It could run forever with lower overhead. The Friday night house was sold out…

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