A well known publicist around town, Scott Gorenstein, is Liza Minnelli‘s number one fan and he has the sequin burn to prove it. Scotty lives, breathes, and eats Liza, and if you so much as say an unenthusiastic word about her, he’ll make sure you die a quicker death than Elsie. (If you just said “Who’s Elsie?”, you probably shouldn’t even be reading this. No, really!) Well, I recently rang them bells and coaxed Scotty to come to the cabaret—or at least the blog—and start spreading the news about why he adores the woman more than life itself. And so:
MM: Why are you so obsessed with Liza?
SG: Because her talent ignites something in me that I have never understood as it is so basic to my being. That said, Liza has given some of the greatest performances of all time. I always tell people who only know her from the tabloids, “There’s a reason she’s a legend. Go watch Liza with a Z or rent Cabaret. It’s all right there.”
MM: Do you think she’s relevant to the young generation?
SG: She’s relevant to anybody who is seeking greatness. At the end of the day she’s standing alone up there–just her and a microphone in front of an orchestra. There are no bells and whistles other than her god-given talent. I love a Madonna concert just as much as the next guy, but there is something to be said for somebody who can get up and cause a frenzy just by opening up their mouth and singing.
MM: And singing and singing. What is the ultimate Liza moment that you’ve witnessed?
SG: Luckily I have experienced many great moments with Liza both onstage and off. I’ve escorted her through Times Square, hugged her when she lost her voice, and told her point blank that as a huge fan I will never abandon her. One of the standout moments, however, was at Fred Ebb’s memorial service in December of 2004. For those who don’t know, Ebb, along with John Kander, was Liza’s songwriter and he was very close to Liza personally. She has said there would have been no her if not for him. And she’s right. It was a typical Broadway midday memorial. Lots of great stars of the stage came out to sing Kander and Ebb tunes. As she was their greatest creation, she came out last and sang two songs they had written for her: “The World Goes Round” and “New York, New York.” She wasn’t even in the best voice that day, but it didn’t matter. All of the Minnelli magic was in full bloom and I nearly lost my mind. Sometimes, however, my favorite part of the concert is just watching her walk on stage. A great star taking the stage to the sound of their fans’ ovation is a sight to behold.
MM: As for the darker side: Your thoughts on the David Gest years? And her 1988 bomb Rent-a-Cop?
SG: David Gest? Who cares?! Her life has been long and full of triumphs. Did she make a mistake? Of course, but it was long ago. She’s moved on and has given many amazing performances since then. As for Rent-a-Cop? Its unfortunate that Hollywood wasn’t able to present her with better properties to choose along the way. But the few clunkers haven’t sullied her legend.
MM: All right, I’ll return it to Kim’s. And finally: Your message to Liza?
SG: Oh, dear…where do I start? I love you? I’ve told her that many times. And Liza doesn’t need anybody to tell her to keep on keeping on. She knows how to do that better than most people. While she may have fallen along the way, she has always picked herself up and gotten right back where she belongs–on stage. It is where she was born to be and I hope to always be in the front row shouting “You’re the greatest!”