“Irreverent, fabulous, ridiculous musical fun!” – the words Trevor Ashley uses to describe his latest foray into impersonating his greatest female icon. LIZA’S BACK! (IS BROKEN) sees Ashley reprising his iconic drag tribute to Liza Minnelli.
There’s no doubting Minnelli is a true legend of Broadway, however Ashley feels she has had far too few roles on the musical stage. So what would happen if in one special night, Liza decided to perform all the great Broadway roles she never got to play?
Clearly he was onto something. LIZA’S BACK! (IS BROKEN) comes to the Opera House this weekend following critical acclaim in Melbourne and London, and a Sydney debut at the Hayes Theatre that sold out before it even opened.
“I got to really play and come up with a whole bunch of songs she’d never actually sung before…and that’s been the greatest thing for me,” Ashley told City Hub.
Amongst belting out a range of iconic musical numbers handpicked by Ashley and his collaborators Phil Scott and Max Lambert, he counts a medley of songs from Wicked married with ‘We’re Off to See the Wizard’ from The Wizard of Oz as it’s biggest moment of genius – “It all sort of clicked in nicely with references to Judy Garland [Minnelli’s mother]”.
Joined on stage by a seven-piece band with plenty of brass, the majestic surrounds of the Opera House will be as great a location as there can be to witness the master impersonator at work. (It also happens to be the last place the real Liza performed in Australia.)
Ashley’s Minnelli is as much a spoof of the original woman as it is a tribute from a sincere fan. “Obviously there are some things that are a pisstake of her, but I do take her very seriously, and it shows,” he added.
But the question remains, is the real Liza aware of his Liza? “I know her people are aware of my Liza, they don’t like me very much!” he laughed. “My guess is they’ve probably kept her well away from me. But I know a lot of her best friends and they all think I’m hysterical, so that’s nice.” (AM)
Nov 11 + 12, 8.15pm. The Studio, Sydney Opera House. $85-$95. Tickets & info: (02) 9250 7777 or www.sydneyoperahouse.com