Liza Minnelli, the Oscar-Tony-Emmy-Grammy-Golden Globe-winning superstar, says her greatest talent is aligning herself with other talented people. Besides her parents, Judy Garland and Golden Age film director Vincente Minnelli, Liza has worked closely with director-choreographer Bob Fosse, French composer/entertainer Charles Aznavour, and John Kander & Fred Ebb, who wrote Cabaret, Liza With a “Z” and Theme from New York, New York. Ebb, the lyricist who died 10 years ago, had particular influence on her performing style, says Minnelli, who’ll sing in concert Sunday at Broward Center for the Performing Arts. “I was lucky. I had Fred Ebb my whole life,” Minnelli says. “He knew me so well. He would write like I talked. It was easy. So when he passed away, and I did things without him — even before he went — I thought, ‘Just say what you’re thinking: You’re in a room with however many people. The doors are shut. You’re all talking to each other. What would you say?’ Hi!'” Minnelli, 68 on March 12, grew up in the limelight. As a small child, she played on the sets at M-G-M studios where her parents ruled the musical roost.
“They were both wonderful to me,” said Minnelli, who in 1960 gave up dreams of being a professional ice skater and realized she wanted to be a live stage performer. Even though her mother was one of the world’s greatest concert performers of the 1950s and ‘60s, Minnelli says that as a girl she rarely paid attention to the stage.
“I grew up in Hollywood,” she says. “They were all making movies at that time. When I was growing up, I didn’t realize that performing live could be that interesting and wonderful. When I saw Bye Bye Birdie on Broadway for the first time, I thought, ‘Oooh, maybe I’d rather do that.’”