Before Bob Fosse and Cabaret, Liza Minnelli was just the big-voiced daughter of celebrities. She won a Tony Award for Flora the Red Menace and scored an Oscar nomination for her second film The Sterile Cuckoo. This is the era of her career that is the most fascinating and the least discussed. And part of that career is her concert at the Olympia in Paris.
Just a few years later, she’d perform the legendary Liza With a Z!, and the contrast between these two acts is staggering. Look at this extended ballroom dance break here and compare it to “I Gotcha” from Liza With a Z!. And compare her slightly manic performance style in Paris with the ease she exhibits a few years later under Fosse’s guidance.
Which is not to say that Liza at the Olympia is pointless. It’s actually a pretty moving concert, where Liza sings “Liza With a Z” in French and tries out some of the things she’ll be known for decades later—including ending the show with “Cabaret,” the first time she’d ever sung it publicly and the reason she was cast as Sally Bowles in the film. God bless the magic of YouTube for making this available after the jump!