SHOWTIME, LIZA MINNELLI AND AWARD-WINNING PRODUCERS CRAIG ZADAN AND NEIL MERON PRESENT THE FULLY RESTORED, DIGITALLY REMASTERED CLASSIC 1972 TELEVISION EVENT, LIZA WITH A “Z”: A CONCERT FOR TELEVISION
FOUR-TIME EMMY® AWARD-WINNING PROGRAM, DIRECTED AND CHOREOGRAPHED BY THE LEGENDARY BOB FOSSE, PREMIERES APRIL 1, 2006 ON SHOWTIME
PASADENA, CA, JANUARY 19, 2006 – On a late spring night in 1972, Liza Minnelli took over New York’s Lyceum Theater for what would be the performance of a lifetime. Alone on stage, guided by the masterful showmanship of the legendary Bob Fosse and captured with eight 16mm cameras by Academy Award®-winning cinematographer Owen Roizman, Minnelli’s tour-de-force performance became one of the most celebrated television specials of a generation. Now for the first time in over three decades, viewers will have the rare opportunity to experience this unforgettable event when Showtime, Liza Minnelli and award-winning producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron present the fully restored and digitally remastered classic, LIZA WITH A “Z”: A CONCERT FOR TELEVISION, debuting exclusively on Showtime April 1, 2006.
The multiple Emmy® Award-winning special, which was directed by the acclaimed Cabaret Oscar® winner Bob Fosse, and starred Minnelli, who also received an Oscar for Cabaret, was broadcast by NBC three times: on September 10, 1972, March 9, 1973 and again in September, 1973. Ms. Minnelli, has teamed with producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (executive producers of the Oscar®-winning Chicago, which ironically began as a Bob Fosse stage musical) to present the first-ever, fully restored and digitally remastered airing of the special for Showtime. The one-hour special is quintessential Minnelli as she effortlessly moves from one musical genre to the next, delivering scintillating versions of such classics as Yes, God Bless the Child, It Was A Good Time, I Gotcha, Ring Them Bells, Son Of A Preacher Man, Bye, Bye Blackbird, You’ve Let Yourself Go, My Mammy, the “Cabaret” medley, along with the incomparable, tongue twisting title song.
“If you weren't present at the filming, and you didn't see the special when it aired on NBC, chances are you never saw this extraordinary event,” said Showtime Entertainment President Robert Greenblatt. “The inimitable Bob Fosse conceived and filmed this project in a way television specials had never been done before, and it captured Minnelli at the zenith of her creative power. We're thrilled to unwrap this musical gem and showcase it for a generation that's never seen it before.”
“Neil Meron and I are very proud to team up with our friend Liza to present this landmark show to a new audience,” Zadan said. “It's almost like discovering a lost Fosse-Minnelli-Kander-Ebb movie. I was fortunate to have been in the audience as Liza's guest the night the show was filmed at the Lyceum Theatre and Fosse's film perfectly captures the magic of that extraordinary, once-in-a-lifetime theater experience.”
“LIZA WITH A ‘Z’ was a first,” said Minnelli. “It was the first filmed concert for network TV ever done. Bob Fosse, Fred Ebb and I produced it. Bobby wanted to do it on film because we had just done Cabaret and we wanted to do another project immediately...so it was eight cameras, once through, with a live audience. It was a special time, we were all at a certain peak of excellence, and we were together again as a team. I'm so proud of it.”
Upon its premiere, LIZA WITH A “Z” was immediately hailed as a tour-de-force, garnering the program a prestigious Peabody Award along with four Emmy® Awards, including ‘Best Performance’ for Minnelli, ‘Best Direction’ and also ‘Best Choreography’ for Fosse, and ‘Best Music, Lyrics and Special Material’ for writers John Kander and
Even upon its original broadcast, the scope of Minnelli's performance and Fosse's direction was not fully experienced due to the limitations of television sets at the time. This lovingly and meticulously remastered print by Michael Arick – the acclaimed restoration producer of Blade Runner and The French Connection – takes full advantage of modern digital technology to restore picture and, maybe more importantly, the sound track for the special which was broadcast in mono. It has been completely remixed in Dolby Digital 5.1 stereo from the original multi-track recordings that have been preserved for over 30 years.
With this performance Minnelli continued her meteoric rise in the pantheon of legendary entertainers. Fosse's legendary choreography and direction of LIZA WITH A “Z” would culminate a year of extraordinary artistic acclaim. The album recording of the television special went on to become a chart-topping soundtrack. In 1973, Fosse won the triple crown of performing arts: the ‘Best Director’ Oscar® for the film version of Cabaret, a ‘Best Director’ Tony® for Pippin and the ‘Best Director’ Emmy® for LIZA WITH A “Z.”
LIZA WITH A “Z” also represented the re-teaming of Minnelli and her songwriter friends John Kander and Fred Ebb. Earlier in her career she starred in their first Broadway musical, Flora The Red Menace, becoming the youngest actress (at the age of 19) to win the Tony® Award for a starring role in a musical. The same year as LIZA WITH A “Z,” the triumphant movie version of Kander and Ebb's Cabaret was released, winning Minnelli the Oscar® for ‘Best Actress.