Liza Minnelli Explains What She Is!
The high point of last night's Astaire Awards for Broadway/film dancing had Liza Minnelli winning the Douglas Watt Lifetime Achievement Award amidst a sea of applauding Fosse hands.
"She's a standup, knockaround broad," said Tony Danza by way of tribute.
"She goes for the kill and always comes back with a trophy," crowed Mikhail Baryshnikov about the honoree.
And Chita Rivera remembered being told she'd costar with Liza in The Rink, a show about a mother and daughter. "Who plays the mother?" Chita said she deadpanned after a beat.
Then Liza herself sashayed out and was funny and warm and grateful.
She said she just doesn't get the word "diva," which is often applied to her.
"What I am is a gypsy," Liza told the crowd, "who is more alive onstage than anywhere else, because I'm with you.
"You've given me everything I've ever needed--and my friends have given me everything I've ever wanted."
She also relayed an interesting story about dancing with Baryshnikov. When Liza told him she couldn't get the hang of a certain choreographic bit, he replied, "Then do it harder."
And that's what legends like Liza and Chita always do.
I saw them in the original Chicago together--Liza filled in for ailing Gwen Verdon at one point--and it was beyond magical.
Someone in last night's audience called out that Chita should do it again.
"If you wanna kill me," she laughed.