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performance

Liza With a “Z”

YES IS LIZA’S first word in Liza With a “Z”: A Concert for Television. In her dressing room during the brief opening credits, she laughs, and, after her indelible silhouette punctuates ruby backlighting—“Ladies and gentlemen, Liza Minnelli”—she whirls into motion, cruises downstage, tosses her white fedora to the wings, stows her snow-fur boa with some lucky dresser in the pit, and giggles into the mic. But her first word is yes.

It becomes an admonition to anyone who’s listening to “say yes”: Yes to the world of “brilliance, bisexuality, and betrayal” she was born into—yes to Hollywood; yes to recoiling, three-and-a-half years old, “at the stench of paraldehyde” that perfumed Mama; yes to watching Papa direct Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse in The Band Wagon, mimicking their moves; yes to Mama’s invitation to join her onstage at the Palace to “dance her little heart out” while Judy sang “

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