LIZA LIVE! is possibly the best overall performance I have seen this year at The Toronto Fringe Festival. It is being put on at The Annex Theatre by Total Betty Productions and you won’t want to miss it.
Jennifer Walls as Liza Minnelli (“that’s Liza with a Z not an S”) takes us a lot deeper into Liza’s life and thoughts than I expected. I was expecting only kitschy Liza fun, but was so happily surprised by how much heart this piece has. I feel it has a very inspiring and positive message.
The band not only provides excellent live music, but is funny too as they interject here and there speaking to Liza during the performance. Donavon Lenabat and Jamie Bird are true talents in both comedy and music.
The piece used videos and had beautifully designed lighting. I found it was also incredibly well balanced between script and musical numbers. These elements combined with a heartwarming Liza played by the empowering Jennifer Walls had me going from laughing to tearing up the entire time. She is captivating.
Jennifer Walls seemed to know Liza inside and out. When I closed my eyes her voice imitation was spot on. She also wore a short black wig, a wonderful sparkly top and a beautiful red dress that screams Liza and fits her like a glove. It really sold the character for me.
There is a particular video of Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli on stage together while Walls as Liza sits on a stool in a dim light. She looks absolutely beautiful and has a warm yet heartbreaking look on her face. That moment has really stayed with me since I left the theatre.
This show really exceeded my expectations, which is saying a lot since I had high expectations to begin with. I had seen Walls perform as Liza before and loved her. This piece feels like a progression from Walls’ earlier Liza.
If you love musical theatre, if you love Liza, if you love tales of old Hollywood, this is a must see show.
LIZA LIVE! is being performed at The Annex Theatre (730 Bathurst St).
July 8 – 3:15pm
July 9 – 10:15pm
July 12 – 4:30pm
July 13 – 2:15pm
- Individual Fringe tickets are available at the door for $10 ($5 for FringeKids), cash only. Late comers will not be permitted.
- Advance tickets are $11 ($9 + $2 service charge) are available online at fringetoronto.com, by phone at 416-966-1062 ext 1, or in person during the festival at the Festival Box Office in the parking lot behind Honest Ed’s (581 Bloor St W).
- Value packs are available if you plan to see at least 5 shows
Photograph featuring Jennifer Walls.
2 thoughts on “LIZA LIVE! (Total Betty Productions) 2013 Toronto Fringe Review”
The girl’s talented but this review must have been written by a friend or relative because it’s not nearly the best thing at fringe this year (not even the best solo performance) and the impersonation gets really irritating after a while. Jennifer can definitely sing but I’d prefer to see her do something other than a mediocre Liza impression
This was my first time seeing Jennifer and she certainly channels Liza very well, especially with the singing. Only a couple of more chances to see this during the Fringe, so check it out.
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