Liza Minnelli is making Fort Lauderdale first.
Minnelli recently spoke to me by phone.
Q: What made you decide to do this concert tour? What’s different about it?
A: I [thought] about how much I love the audience. What I did this time is really listen to what people wrote to me and texted me. So they said, “Why don’t you sing ‘Ring Them Bells’? So I sing “Ring Them Bells.” Or they ask for “Harvest Moon.” So that’s in. And it’s also intimate: seven pieces and me.
Q: How long have you been working on this show?
A: I just put this together. [Fort Lauderdale] is the first place.
Q: Last time I interviewed you, you talked about how acting is the foundation of everything you do, from dancing to singing. Is that how you keep these songs fresh, thinking of them as scenes?
A: Yes, they’re little movies. When I was 17 or 18, I went to see [French-Armenian singer] Charles Aznavour, and I knew that was what I wanted to do. So I studied with him. I went to him and said, “Can I be your student? I’ve never seen anything like what you do.” I had him write for me, and I performed with him. One of my greatest gifts is finding very talented people, recognizing them and working with them.
Q: I know you lived in Fort Lauderdale around 2000/2001 when you were recuperating from brain encephalitis, so that wasn’t a good time. But you’ve been back many times since. Do you have any favorite hangouts or restaurants here?
A: No, not really. Why don’t you take me somewhere? [Laughing] No, I love seeing my friends. And just to look out the window there. It’s so beautiful.
Q: You recently made headlines around the world when you said at a luncheon you hosted for “Dallas Buyers Club” at Monkey Bar that if Matthew McConaughey didn’t win an Oscar, you would give him yours. Did you mean it?
A: I really love that movie. And I just thought it was brilliant the way it was done. I didn’t know how to end my speech, so I thought that was a good play. [Laughing] I never write anything down. I just speak from the heart, you know.
Q: You have achieved the rare EGOT, where you have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. Your mantle must need to be reinforced. Where do you keep all those awards?
A: [Laughing] I have some on the bookshelf in the sitting room and some in my bedroom.
Q: There have been a few shows — “Beyond the Rainbow: Garland at Carnegie Hall,” “The Wizard of Oz” and “End of the Rainbow” — in South Florida lately that conjure Judy Garland. It must be weird to always see other people’s interpretation of your mother. What do you think of those shows?
A: Like everyone else, I think that’s great. She really was two people: the performer and my mother. You see these things and … they’re never quite on the nose. It’s swell, but it doesn’t mean much, although I think it’s very nice. It makes people happy.
If You Go:
When: 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 16
Where: Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale
Contact: 954-462-0222 or BrowardCenter.org.