“Liza Minnelli” (as embodied by Peter Mac) made her West Hollywood debut in the cabaret space at the rear of the French Market. What is a relatively small space is transformed by the sheer artistry of Mac as he becomes Liza. He does more than do an impersonation of Judy’s kid. Oh no! This performance is a well thought out and performed tribute to Ms. Minnelli. Just in time too since Liza is about to make a Bowl appearance in the near future. But Mac’s portrayal is of Liza in her prime and in top form. Ah, if only the real Liza could sing as well as Peter.
I have seen/heard Mac do four concerts as Judy Garland and he is a master at recreating her in all her glory. What is amazing is that he has put together many tribute shows to this icon including The Lost Easter Special, Judy at Carnegie Hall (the whole concert including what was spoken), Judy’s 90th Birthday Celebration, and Judy Garland and Friends where Mac also performs Tallulah Bankhead, Peggy Lee, Katherine Hepburn, and Liza. He really sends up Tallulah and Ms. Lee but his Hepburn, his Judy, and his Minnelli are straightforward tributes. His latest show is all Liza and it is brilliant.
In the course of the act Mac sings songs that illustrate various periods in Liza’s career. She talks of Peter Allen and lets us see inside their relationship. Her rendition of Allen’s “I’d Rather Leave While I’m Still in Love” is terrific. She also sings lots of Kander and Ebb including a very funny “Sara Lee” as well as Cabaret and “Maybe This Time.” What I particularly liked in this concert were the less cabaret-common songs like “Say Yes Old Friend” from Merrily We Roll Along, “Don’t Smoke in Bed,” and “Put a Ring On It.”
The highlight of the evening was a gorgeous rendition of a Charles Aznavour song called “What Makes a Man a Man.” This song is a moving expression of what it takes to be a man but Mac fills it with his own feeling and style. Mac is not only a wonderful singer but a consummate actor. He has Liza down, every giggle, gesture, and breath, but above all he captures her heart as well as her talent. This is a great concert. Mac performs Liza every Thursday and Friday through August as well as doing Judy every Saturday and Sunday. How he does it I can only guess but I think it has something to do with love.