Liza with a Z – a must-buy DVD for musical theatre fans (and only £5)

Box for DVD 

I was buying a present on amazon a couple of months back, and the recommendation system suggested that I might want to buy a copy of ‘Liza with a Z’. For some reason it was reduced to less than £5 (from a full-price of £17) so it wasn’t exactly a difficult decision to make and I bought it.

Fast forward 2 months and this weekend I finally took the DVD off the shelf and watched it. I’m now in shock that it only cost £5 – an absolute bargain and a must-have for any true musical theatre fan…

‘Liza with a Z’ was a televised concert performance by the inimitable Liza Minelli, recorded back in 1972. The show was ‘written’ by John Kander & Fred Ebb, the writers of Cabaret, which he had starred in a few years earlier. Many consider her to have become their muse, and by my count, she has ended up starring in at least 5 of their shows – Cabaret, Zorba, Chicago, The Act, The Rink. (If you’re interested, The Rink is rumoured to be coming to London later this year)

The materials primarily consists of existing Kander & Ebb songs, most notably her medley from Cabaret, with songs ususally performed by the Emcee. There are some songs written specifically for this – the 2 that stand out are  have also written some songs specifically for this show – both ‘Liza with a Z’ and ‘Ring Them Bells’. Both are sensational, with the latter being particularly funny. If you haven’t heard it before, check it out the YouTube video here.

Apart from the stream of phenomenal songs, the thing that stands out most is the dancing. Choreographed by probably the most famous stage choregrapher in recent history, Bob Fosse, the show highlights just how unique his style is. If you like the Fosse style of choregraphy, I have 2 more recommendations to make – the first is DVD of a stage show dedidcated to his work, simply called Fosse (buy here) and the second is a film he made about his own life, called All That Jazz (buy here).

And finally, if you’re still not sure about buying this DVD, it’s worth noting that this DVD is remastered from the original recording, so the quality is excellent. There are also a host of special features (including the chance to listen to Liza commentating on her own performance!) and an extra, previously undiscovered track from Cabaret that was cut from the original show.

You have probably heard that Liza is on currently on tour, and will be performing in London in May and June (more information on her official website here). Based on her recent TV performances, she’s not the performer she was, but then that’s not exactly a surprise given that this DVD was recorded over 35 years ago…

At the time of this performance, her singing, dancing, acting and comedic qualities are all peerless – her overall performance is breathtakingly good. I’m convinced that in time, she’ll be looked back on as the greatest musical theatre actress of her generation. Whether you already agree or not, this DVD is a great investment. Go out and buy your copy now before the price goes up!

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Reminder of 3 DVDs to buy:
1. ‘Liza with a Z’, starring Liza Minelli – click here
2. ‘Fosse’, stage show based on choregrapher Bob Fosse’s work – click here
3. ‘All That Jazz’ – autobiographical film of Bob Fosse’s life – click here

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