Another truly masterful turn - this time as Liza Minnelli - is what Peter Mac presents in his newest tribute show Liza in Concert. Sharing the weekend bill - Thursdays & Fridays through August, with mama Judy Garland on Saturdays and Sundays, Liza has deliciously choice things to say about ex-hubbie Peter Allen, composers Kander & Ebb, and of course, Judy. But mostly, in this show, the emphasis is on singing.
There are some of Liza's hits including "Maybe This Time", "Cabaret", "But the World Goes Round", "New York, New York", and a lovely salute to her mother with "Mama a Rainbow". However, the more unknown choices in this concert prove to be the most riveting and ultimately appealing. Charles Aznavour had a great effect on Liza with his "Comme Ils Disent" translated into English "What Makes a Man a Man" about the daily routine of a drag queen and how that life measures up to the standards of a hostile world. Mac is a stunningly bold actor, a great interpreter of songs that tell a story... sad songs, songs of substance. What he does with this one is incredible, not only entertaining the audience but actually calling upon them to think, feel and react in a way that is not dissimilar to Jerry Herman's "I Am What I Am". But the intensity of Aznavour's song is even greater than Herman's as it dramatically underplays the message while letting you extract from the details given, the real value of the man in question. To say the least, it is the highpoint of the evening, and Mac's delivery is incomparably mesmerizing. Another highlight is Peter Allen's gorgeous "Leave While I'm in Love". When Mac as Liza says "So sad!" afterwards, it is bittersweet but also outlandishly funny, as Liza's marriage to the gay Peter Allen seemed to the world a silly joke. Other funny moments come in K & Ebb's adorable "Sara Lee", as well as the hilarious encore "Shoulda' Put a Ring On It", which is hardly K & Ebb but almost could have been with its off-the-wall, crazy, campy, overly-energized style, suiting Liza to the letter.
If I had one suggestion, it would be to lengthen the show somewhat. Include "Liza with a Z" and talk maybe about David Gest. But Mac is a showman and knows how to build a show, allowing his audience the cravings for more. As Liza said about Judy, "If I learned anything from Mama, it was to do 24 encores". I'm certain that this is just the beginning of this fabulous new show.
Bravo once again to Peter Mac. His bravura and loving tribute put Liza on an equal par with Judy. Fans who love these two icons will not want to miss Mac's two shows extended through August at Peter Mac's Supper Club in the French Market Place at 7985 Santa Monica Blvd in WeHo.
Call 310-871-7563 for reservations or visit: FriendOfJudy.com.