Sunday, July 31, 2005

What Liza did Next

Career transitions? Transiting to exactly what, I'm inclined to ask. Falling out of bed? Sleeping in dumpsters at Hotel Chelsea?

It has just been announced that Liza Minnelli will host That's Entertainment!, a gala celebrating Career Transition For Dancers' 20th anniversary, on Monday, October 24 at 7pm at City Center (131 West 55th Street in NYC).

Minnelli won a Theatre World Award for her New York stage debut in Best Foot Forward and a Tony Award for her Broadway debut in Flora, the Red Menace. She went on to star on Broadway in Chicago (as a replacement for Gwen Verdon), The Act (for which she won another Tony), The Rink, and Victor/Victoria (as a replacement for Julie Andrews). In 1969, Minnelli was nominated for an Academy Award for The Sterile Cuckoo. In 1972, she won both an Oscar and a Golden Globe Award for her performance as Sally Bowles in Cabaret and an Emmy for the TV special Liza With a Z, both directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse.

Produced and directed by Ann Marie DeAngelo, and presented by Rolex, the October 24 CTFD gala will pay homage to a century of dance in American entertainment. Among those scheduled to participate are Polly Bergen, Marge Champion, Sandy Duncan, Mercedes Ellington, Bill Irwin, Lypsinka, Jane Powell, Noah Racey, Donald Saddler, Ben Vereen, and artists from American Ballet Theatre, ABT Studio Company, The Big Apple Circus, Cirque du Soleil, Complexions, Crazy Legs & Rock Steady Crew with DJ Slynkee, Dance Times Square, The Joffrey Ballet, and the Martha Graham Dance Company.

As part of this year's gala, the Rolex Dance Award will be presented to The Joffrey Ballet and to its co-founder and artistic director, Gerald Arpino, in recognition of the company's 50th anniversary. There will also be two awards for Outstanding Contributions to the World of Dance: to The Harkness Foundation for Dance and to Lewis S. Ranieri, chairman of American Ballet Theatre.

Gala tickets are priced at $550 and $1,000 each. They include admission to the show and to a post-performance Anniversary Waltz Supper with the Stars, auction, and dancing in the Metropolitan Ballroom of the Sheraton New York hotel. Sponsorships and tables are also available. For gala tickets, call Gary Tigner at 212-764-0172. Show only tickets will be available beginning August 29; they may be purchased at the box office, by calling 212-581-1212, or through

The annual event is a benefit for Career Transition For Dancers. With offices in New York and Los Angeles, the organization has helped over 3,000 professional dancers identify their unique talents in preparation for establishing new careers when dance is no longer an option. For more information, visit the website


Things are happening. I've written the best part of a 'catch-up' entry for the blog and a post-NY piece I'm writing for my own sordid gratification is taking shape.

Meanwhile, I'm sitting looking out onto the park across the road, listening to Rufus and watching a whole posse of well-meaning people plant trees. It is, you see, 'plant a tree day'.

I do admire their civic spirit and we probably do need to do something about global-warming and all that. Lovely. They are rewarded with a healthy day out for all the family, some sun & air, and that pious feeling of having earned a better seat in heaven by sheer weight of moral conviction & ye olde fashioned niceness. Nobody reasonable could argue that the more trees located down there to absorb the highway fumes, the better.

The part that makes me snicker is that they are planting trees exactly where the council recently cut a whole lot out to thin the area and discourage Kevin Spacey from walking his dog there late at night. The kinds of unsavoury things that go on in that park can only be euphimised in a PG15 blog.

And, dear viewers, isn't that really life in the ratmaze of C21? Tear it down, build it up, engage 101 short-term, reactionary responses and then move on to the next crisis. Do anything as long as it isn't a co-ordinated and thoughtful response to the speed of the traffic. That would require truly acknowledging the mess that we've made.

Are you holding your breath?