More than 100 people spanned the length of the block along Broadway between 66th and 67th Streets in New York City on Tuesday morning and waited in the frigid temperatures and light snow to buy a CD. Well, actually a two CD-set, Liza's at the Palace that features 18 of Superstar Liza Minnelli's popular tunes including Cabaret and New York, New York.
But the real prize for adoring fans: the first 160 purchasers received hot pink wristbands for entrance to a short performance at the store that night. By10:25 a.m., the wristbands were gone.
Jill Anders, 28, a performer herself was first on line at 3 a.m. "Liza's kind of a theatre icon," said Anders, "and I adore the theatre." Anders lives on the Upper West Side. As to the wait, "it's nice to have something to look forward to," she said. "Especially in this economy."
Number two was Larry Sosna, 50, a train operator for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. "My girlfriend, Theresa, is a big fan. I'm a big fan, too," he said. "We went to the show at The Palace." And in the spirit of ""What Makes a Man a Man," one of the songs on Minnelli's new CD, Sosna planned to give his wristband to his girlfriend.
"She's almost acting as if she's singing," said Wilda Gall, 55, a limousine driver from Palm Springs, Calif., who was one of the early risers at the front of the line. "I've loved her all my life," she said. "I'm going to come back tonight and you won't recognize me. I'm going to look like her (Liza)!" Gall doesn't have a favorite tune. "There's one for every mood."
"She tells stories through her songs, said Yvonne Gleason, 48, a writer and editor who traveled to New York City from Centreville, VA, 45 minutes west of Washington, D.C. " If she could, said Gleason "I'd ask her to sing me a story."
John Figliolia, 60, a plumbing contractor from Homedale, New Jersey, said he's always been a fan and remembered seeing Minnelli's mother, Judy Garland, in Las Vegas when she was with the Rat Pack. But Tuesday morning, he waited on line for a wristband to give to his daughter who is a singer. "If you don't do it for your kids, who are you going to do it for?"
Meeting Ms. Minnelli will be an encore for Figliolia's daughter Christina, 24. The two women met on Monday at The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet. "She's been my inspiration for years," said the aspiring starlet by telephone who recently recorded her first demo CD.
Heather Lamothe, 23, who works in retail, joined the line at 4:30 a.m. She was introduced to the Liza phenomenon when she saw "Cabaret" in a theatre class at the lnternational College of Design and Technology in Chicago. Seeing her Tuesday night meant she would accomplish her 2009 goal of "meeting Liza, who is probably one of, if not THE, last big stars," said Lamothe.
"Liza is a real honest to God performer," said Tom Schmauder, 54, a calligrapher from Queens. "I've never done anything like this before," he said, "but I've been a life-long fan." He grew up in Copiague, New York on Long Island where his father played music by Minnelli and Sinatra after dinner on Sundays. "Liza's had her ups and downs, growing up with that crazy mother, but she keeps on coming back," said Schmauder. "That's why they say 'she's back.'" Besides, "things are so lousy with the economy, and in this day of lip-synching. What the hell?" added Schmauder. "Movie stars to the rescue!"
Recipients of the pink wristbands were told by store employees to line up again outside the store at 5 p.m. for admission to the performance. "Can't you let us stand inside?" barked an older fan who declined to give her name. "It's inhumane."