Liza with a Z

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Liza with a "Z"
LizawithaZ.jpg
Re-master poster
GenreConcert film
Directed byBob Fosse
Produced byFred Ebb
Bob Fosse
Michael Arick (re-master)
Craig Zadan (re-master)
Neil Meron (re-master)
Written byFred Ebb
StarringLiza Minnelli
Music byKander and Ebb
Editing byAlan Heim
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Original channelNBC (Original)
Showtime (re-master)
Release dateSeptember 10, 1972[1][2]
Running time51 min.
 
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Liza with a "Z"
LizawithaZ.jpg
Re-master poster
GenreConcert film
Directed byBob Fosse
Produced byFred Ebb
Bob Fosse
Michael Arick (re-master)
Craig Zadan (re-master)
Neil Meron (re-master)
Written byFred Ebb
StarringLiza Minnelli
Music byKander and Ebb
Editing byAlan Heim
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Original channelNBC (Original)
Showtime (re-master)
Release dateSeptember 10, 1972[1][2]
Running time51 min.

Liza with a "Z": A Concert for Television is a 1972 concert film, made for television and starring Liza Minnelli. The film was produced by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse. As well as producing, Fosse also directed and choreographed the concert, and Ebb wrote and arranged the music with his song-writing partner John Kander. All four had previously worked on the successful film adaptation of Cabaret earlier in the same year. According to Minnelli, it was "the first filmed concert on television".[3] Singer sponsored the production, although the producers did their best to keep any of the sponsors from seeing the rehearsals for fear of them pulling out due to Minnelli's short skirts.[3]

Filmed on May 31 at the Lyceum Theatre in New York,[1][4] after only eight weeks of rehearsals,[3] the concert was shot with eight 16mm film cameras[1] at the insistence of Fosse, in contrast to other television specials of the time which were all shot on videotape.

Throughout the concert Minnelli sings and dances to a variety of popular songs and standards, music from Cabaret, and songs specifically written for her by Kander and Ebb—most notably the title song.[5] Minnelli is accompanied on stage in many of the songs by dancers and backing singers, and—in three numbers—two guitarists, a keyboardist and a drummer. The costumes were designed by Halston, who was also a friend of Minnelli. Marvin Hamlisch was selected by Kander and Ebb to be the music coordinator.[1]

The film was first broadcast on NBC on September 10, 1972. Kay Gardella of the New York Daily News reviewed the film as being "sensational with an 'S'"[4] and it went on to win four Emmys and a Peabody Award. However, after the initial broadcast, NBC re-ran the concert only twice more and did not screen it again after 1973.[1][2] The film was not seen for over thirty years and was thought lost until 1999, when Michael Arick discovered that Minnelli owned the copyright and the two set about restoring the negatives.[3]

Musical numbers[edit]

  1. "Yes"
  2. "God Bless the Child"
  3. "Say Liza (Liza with a "Z")"
  4. "It Was a Good Time"
  5. "I Gotcha"
  6. "Son of a Preacher Man"
  7. "Ring Them Bells"
  8. "Bye Bye Blackbird"
  9. "You've Let Yourself Go"
  10. "My Mammy"
  11. Cabaret Medley

Re-master and DVD release[edit]

After the initial broadcasts in 1972 and 1973, the negatives were stored in the vaults of NBC, only occasionally being brought out for Minnelli's own personal use.[6] In the 1980s, the original negatives were lost and feared destroyed. Michael Arick and Minnelli eventually tracked down the original negatives in 1999, in Los Angeles and New York.[6] In 2005, Minnelli revealed to Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, producers and friends of hers (who had produced the film of Chicago — another Fosse and Kander & Ebb collaboration), that she owned the rights to the film and that she had been restoring it with Arick. They introduced her to Robert Greenblatt, the President of Entertainment for Showtime, who then agreed to finance the restoration, broadcast the film, and release the DVD.[7]

The re-mastered film was accepted into both the Toronto International Film Festival and the Hamptons Film Festival for 2005 and premiered on September 9, 2005 at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres in Toronto. The television premiere was on Showtime on April 1, 2006.[8]

As well as a restored picture, the DVD also offers the viewer the option of a 5.1 surround sound soundtrack. This was made possible due to a new mix being created from reels of sound recordings Minnelli had personally archived after the original production in 1972.[6] The DVD also includes a commentary track recorded by Minnelli, a performance of "Mein Herr" (cut from the original film), an interview with Kander recorded by Minnelli, a recording of Minnelli and the restoration producers discussing the film at the Toronto Film Festival, and a separate performance by Minnelli at the GLAAD Awards in 2005.

Awards[edit]

The production won four Emmy Awards:[3] Outstanding Achievement in Choreography (Bob Fosse, choreographer), Outstanding Achievement in Music, Lyrics and Special Material (Fred Ebb and John Kander, composers), Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy, Variety or Music (Bob Fosse) and Outstanding Single Program - Variety and Popular Music (Bob Fosse and Fred Ebb, producers, and Liza Minnelli, star). It was nominated for a further three Emmy's in film editing, music composition and writing. The film also won a 1972 Peabody Award and a Directors Guild of America Award. Fosse's Emmy win meant that he had won an Oscar, Tony, and Emmy all within the same year.[4] The DVD release was nominated for a 2006 Satellite Award for Best DVD Release of a TV Show.[9]

Soundtrack[edit]

Liza with a "Z"

CD album cover
Soundtrack album by Liza Minnelli
ReleasedSeptember 10, 1972
March 7, 2006 (reissue)
RecordedMay, 1972
GenreShowtunes
Traditional pop
Length00:51
LanguageEnglish
LabelColumbia Records
Showtime (reissue)
ProducerAndrew Kazdin
Liza Minnelli chronology
CabaretLiza with a "Z"The Singer
Soundtrack reviews
Review scores
SourceRating
Allmusic4.5/5 stars link

The original film soundtrack was recorded to 1/4" tape, and mixed down into a mono track for the 16mm film.[6] An LP of the soundtrack was released in 1972 and followed in the success of the film by becoming a best seller[2] and being certified gold.[6] In total it spent twenty-three weeks in the Top 40 charts, and has never been out of print.[6] A CD of the soundtrack was simultaneously released when the film was released on DVD in 2006. The reissue was presented in stereo. Some editions of the DVD came with the soundtrack CD as a bonus disc. The soundtrack is now also available as a download from iTunes.

Track listing[edit]

The following is the track listing from the 2006 reissue. There are two differences between the 1972 original and the reissue — the first is that "Son of a Preacher Man" and "Ring Them Bells" were placed in the correct performance order for the reissue. The original release had the two songs in reverse order.[10] The second difference is that the original had a twelfth track, entitled "Bows".[11] For the reissue, this track was mixed into the end of the previous track.

  1. "Yes" (Kander and Ebb) — 3:15
  2. "God Bless the Child" (Herzog, Holiday) — 3:07
  3. "Say Liza (Liza with a "Z")" (Kander and Ebb) — 3:06
  4. "It Was a Good Time" (Curb, David, Jarre) — 4:58
  5. "I Gotcha" (Tex) — 3:44
  6. "Son of a Preacher Man" (Hurley, Wilkins) — 3:25
  7. "Ring Them Bells" (Kander and Ebb) — 5:41
  8. "Bye Bye Blackbird" (Dixon, Henderson) — 3:57
  9. "You've Let Yourself Go" (Aznavour) — 3:56
  10. "My Mammy" (Donaldson, Lewis, Young) — 3:03
  11. "Cabaret Medley" (Kander and Ebb) — 10:21[10] (9:52, 1972 version)[11]
  12. "Bows" (Gershwin, Gershwin, Kahn) — 0:30 (1972 version only)[11]

Charts[edit]

Chart 1972Peak position
Billboard 20019[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Zadan, C., "1972", Liza with a "Z" DVD inlay, 2006, Anchor Bay Entertainment
  2. ^ a b c Stanley, Alessandra (March 31, 2006). "Liza With a "Z" Television Review". The New York Times. Retrieved March 31, 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Shillinger, Liesl (February 26, 2006). "Suddenly Liza". New York Magazine. Retrieved March 31, 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c "Liza with a "Z"". PBS. Retrieved March 31, 2009. 
  5. ^ The Art Of The American Musical: Conversations With The Creators, Jackson R. Bryer, Richard Allan Davison, p. 102, 2005, Rutgers University Press, ISBN 0-8135-3613-8
  6. ^ a b c d e f Arick, Michael. "Notes on the Restoration". Official Liza Minnelli website. Retrieved March 31, 2009. 
  7. ^ Zadan, C., "Flash forward 34 Years", Liza with a "Z" DVD inlay, 2006, Anchor Bay Entertainment
  8. ^ "Liza with a "Z"!". Official Liza Minnelli website. Retrieved March 31, 2009. 
  9. ^ "11th Annual Satellite Awards, 2006 IPA Nominations Announcement Press Release" (PDF). International Press Academy. December 2006. Retrieved March 31, 2009. 
  10. ^ a b Unterberger, Richie. "Liza with a "Z" reissue". Allmusic. Retrieved March 31, 2009. 
  11. ^ a b c Unterberger, Richie. "Liza with a "Z"". Allmusic. Retrieved March 31, 2009. 
  12. ^ "Charts & Awards, Liza Minnelli" allmusic.com, accessed September 6, 2011

External links[edit]