A friend of ours turned 50 this week. To mark the special occasion he and his partner threw a big party on Saturday night; a black tie affair complete with big band, Australian pop star and heartfelt intimate toasts.
Mid way through the braised beef and drunken pear souffle, the lights unexpectedly dimmed and the big band started to play a musical introduction that signaled something extraordinary was about to happen. When the burgundy curtains parted, and as if by magic, there she was –
Liza with a “Z”!
Can I tell you what a thrill it was?! There she was in all of her Liza fabulousness – the sparkly jacket, the plush royal blue velvet pants, the trademark red lips, the signature eyelashes and that unforgettable voice.
She sang. The guests swooned. We sang along.
When she finished her performance with songs from her recent Broadway show Liza at the Palace and boldly belted out “Tell Broadway that LIZA with a “Z” is back,” she brought the house down as everyone rose to their feet.
I was really touched by that moment because, watching her, I was reminded of the kind of courage and strength that it takes to make a come back and the special blend of humility and confidence that it takes to pick yourself up, to dust yourself off and to press on when what you really want to do is just give up.
When you have fallen with “the world” watching, all you really want to do is give up…
I suspect that Liza Minnelli’s ability to touch people the way that she touched the people in that room last Saturday night, in fact comes from her willingness to be both broken and fabulous at the same time. That is what I will remember. That is what thrilled me the most.