Liza with a Z

Liza with a "Z": A Concert for Television is a 1972 concert film made for television and starring Liza Minnelli. The film was produced by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse. Fosse also directed and choreographed the concert, and Ebb wrote and arranged the music with his song-writing partner John Kander. All four had previously worked on the successful film adaptation of Cabaret earlier in the same year. According to Minnelli, it was "the first filmed concert on television".[3] Singer sponsored the production, even though the producers did their best to keep any of the sponsors from seeing the rehearsals for fear of them pulling out due to Minnelli's short skirts.[3]

Liza with a "Z"
Re-master poster
GenreConcert film
Written byFred Ebb
Directed byBob Fosse
StarringLiza Minnelli
Theme music composerKander and Ebb
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
Producer(s)Fred Ebb
Bob Fosse
Michael Arick (re-master)
Craig Zadan (re-master)
Neil Meron (re-master)
CinematographyOwen Roizman
Editor(s)Alan Heim
Running time51 min.
Original networkNBC (Original)
Showtime (re-master)
Original releaseSeptember 10, 1972[1][2]

Filmed on May 31 at the Lyceum Theatre in New York,[1][4] after only eight weeks of rehearsals,[3] the concert was shot with eight 16mm film cameras[1] at the insistence of Fosse, in contrast to other television specials of the time which were all shot on videotape.

Throughout the concert Minnelli sings and dances to a variety of popular songs and standards, music from Cabaret and songs specifically written for her by Kander and Ebb—most notably the title song.[5] Minnelli is accompanied on stage in many songs by dancers and backup singers, and—in three numbers—two guitarists plus a keyboardist and drummer. Costumes were designed by Halston, who was also a friend of Minnelli. Marvin Hamlisch was selected by Kander and Ebb to be music coordinator.[1]

The film was first broadcast on NBC on September 10, 1972. Kay Gardella of the New York Daily News reviewed the film as being "sensational with an 'S'"[4] and it went on to win four Emmys and a Peabody Award. However, after the initial broadcast, NBC re-ran the concert only twice more and did not screen it again after 1973.[1][2] The film was not seen for over thirty years and was thought lost until 1999, when Michael Arick discovered that Minnelli owned the copyright and the two set about restoring the negatives.[3]

Musical numbersEdit

  1. "Yes"
  2. "God Bless the Child"
  3. "Say Liza (Liza with a "Z")"
  4. "It Was a Good Time"
  5. "I Gotcha"
  6. "Son of a Preacher Man"
  7. "Ring Them Bells"
  8. "Bye Bye Blackbird"
  9. "You've Let Yourself Go"
  10. "My Mammy"
  11. Cabaret Medley

Remaster and DVD releaseEdit

After the initial broadcasts in 1972 and 1973, the negatives were stored in the vaults of NBC, only occasionally being brought out for Minnelli's own personal use.[6] In the 1980s, the original negatives were lost and feared destroyed. Michael Arick and Minnelli eventually tracked down the original negatives in 1999 in Los Angeles and New York.[6] In 2005, Minnelli revealed to Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, producers and friends of hers, that she owned the rights to the film and that she had been restoring it with Arick. They introduced her to Robert Greenblatt, President of Entertainment for Showtime, who agreed to finance the restoration, broadcast the film, and release the DVD.[7]

The re-mastered film was accepted into both the Toronto International Film Festival and the Hamptons Film Festival for 2005 and premiered on September 9, 2005, at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres in Toronto. The television premiere was on Showtime on April 1, 2006.[8]

As well as a restored picture, the DVD also offers the viewer the option of a 5.1 surround sound soundtrack. This was made possible due to a new mix being created from reels of sound recordings Minnelli had personally archived after the original production in 1972.[6] The DVD also includes a commentary track recorded by Minnelli, a performance of "Mein Herr" (cut from the original film), an interview with Kander recorded by Minnelli, a recording of Minnelli and the restoration producers discussing the film at the Toronto Film Festival, and a separate performance by Minnelli at the GLAAD Awards in 2005.

Awards and honorsEdit

Year Award Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result
1973 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Single Program - Variety and Popular Music Bob Fosse, Fred Ebb, Liza Minnelli Won
Outstanding Directing for a Comedy-Variety or Music Special Bob Fosse Won
Outstanding Achievement in Choreography Won
Outstanding Writing Achievement in Comedy, Variety or Music Fred Ebb Nominated
Outstanding Achievement in Music Composition - For a Special Program Fred Ebb, John Kander Nominated
Outstanding Achievement in Music, Lyrics and Special Material Won
Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography for Entertainment Programming - For a Special or Feature Length Program of a Series Owen Roizman Nominated
Outstanding Achievement in Film Editing for Entertainment Programming - For a Special or Feature Length Program of a Series Alan Heim Nominated
Directors Guild of America Award Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Musical/Variety Bob Fosse, Kenneth Utt, Paul Ganapoler, John Neukum Won
Peabody Award For Timex All-Star Swing Festival and 'S Wonderful, 'S Marvelous, 'S Gershwin Won
2006 Satellite Award Best DVD Release of a TV Show Nominated


Liza with a "Z"
Soundtrack album by
ReleasedSeptember 10, 1972
March 7, 2006 (reissue)
RecordedMay, 1972
Traditional pop
LabelColumbia Records
Showtime (reissue)
ProducerAndrew Kazdin
Liza Minnelli chronology
Liza with a "Z"
The Singer
Soundtrack reviews
Review scores
Allmusic     [9]

The original film soundtrack was recorded to 1/4" tape, and mixed down into a mono track for the 16mm film.[6] An LP of the soundtrack was released in 1972 and followed in the success of the film by becoming a best seller[2] and being certified gold.[6] In total it spent twenty-three weeks in the Top 40 charts, and has never been out of print.[6] A CD of the soundtrack was simultaneously released when the film was released on DVD in 2006. The reissue was presented in stereo. Some editions of the DVD came with the soundtrack CD as a bonus disc. The soundtrack is now also available as a download from iTunes.

Track listingEdit

The following is the track listing from the 2006 reissue. There are two differences between the 1972 original and the reissue — the first is that "Son of a Preacher Man" and "Ring Them Bells" were placed in the correct performance order for the reissue. The original release had the two songs in reverse order.[10] The second difference is that the original had a twelfth track, entitled "Bows".[11] For the reissue, this track was mixed into the end of the previous track.

  1. "Yes" (Kander and Ebb) — 3:15
  2. "God Bless the Child" (Herzog, Holiday) — 3:07
  3. "Say Liza (Liza with a "Z")" (Kander and Ebb) — 3:06
  4. "It Was a Good Time" (Curb, David, Jarre) — 4:58
  5. "I Gotcha" (Tex) — 3:44
  6. "Son of a Preacher Man" (Hurley, Wilkins) — 3:25
  7. "Ring Them Bells" (Kander and Ebb) — 5:41
  8. "Bye Bye Blackbird" (Dixon, Henderson) — 3:57
  9. "You've Let Yourself Go" (Aznavour) — 3:56
  10. "My Mammy" (Donaldson, Lewis, Young) — 3:03
  11. "Cabaret Medley" (Kander and Ebb) — 10:21[10] (9:52, 1972 version)[11]
  12. "Bows" (Gershwin, Gershwin, Kahn) — 0:30 (1972 version only)[11]


Chart 1972 Peak position
Australia (Kent Music Report)[12] 17
Billboard 200 19[13]


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[14] Gold 500,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e Zadan, C., "1972", Liza with a "Z" DVD inlay, 2006, Anchor Bay Entertainment
  2. ^ a b c Stanley, Alessandra (March 31, 2006). "Liza With a "Z" Television Review". The New York Times. Retrieved March 31, 2009.
  3. ^ a b c d Shillinger, Liesl (February 26, 2006). "Suddenly Liza". New York Magazine. Retrieved March 31, 2009.
  4. ^ a b "Liza with a "Z"". PBS. Retrieved March 31, 2009.
  5. ^ The Art Of The American Musical: Conversations With The Creators, Jackson R. Bryer, Richard Allan Davison, p. 102, 2005, Rutgers University Press, ISBN 0-8135-3613-8
  6. ^ a b c d e f Arick, Michael. "Notes on the Restoration". Official Liza Minnelli website. Archived from the original on 18 January 2007. Retrieved March 31, 2009.
  7. ^ Zadan, C., "Flash forward 34 Years", Liza with a "Z" DVD inlay, 2006, Anchor Bay Entertainment
  8. ^ "Liza with a "Z"!". Official Liza Minnelli website. Archived from the original on 19 December 2011. Retrieved March 31, 2009.
  9. ^
  10. ^ a b Unterberger, Richie. "Liza with a "Z" reissue". Allmusic. Retrieved March 31, 2009.
  11. ^ a b c Unterberger, Richie. "Liza with a "Z"". Allmusic. Retrieved March 31, 2009.
  12. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 202. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  13. ^ "Charts & Awards, Liza Minnelli", accessed September 6, 2011
  14. ^ "American album certifications – Liza Minnelli – Liza with a "Z"". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 

External linksEdit