Drag superdiva Jackie Beat, of wicked tongue and wide girth, hosted and acted as on-the-spot artistic director, hounding acts off the stage when they overstayed their welcome, which was, alas, more often than not.
Beat’s opening number, a rock anthem titled “Raccoon Lady,” was the wittiest thing in the show, and its cruelty (“Are those Max Factor scars on your wrists?”) was tempered by affection. None but a die-hard Lizaphile could work the titles of all Minnelli’s worst films into two verses and a chorus, and offer comic advice that signals a keen awareness of her career tribulations: “I have an idea,” La Beat sang, “Have Babyface produce your next bomb/Have a pay-per-viewseance and channel your mom/Turn ‘Rent a Cop’ into a CD-ROM/And sing ‘You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” with Squeaky Fromme.”
TX:A Petit Mal production. Opened, reviewed June 5, 1996. TX: Jackie also paid homage to the Liza aesthetic in her incessant costume and wig changes, which were the second-wittiest thing in the show.
The rest of the evening was the occasional hit amid a host of misses. Margaret Cho did an off-the-spiral-notebook riff about the drag queens she has known, the only Liza-adjacent material being her best punch line, which concerned finally seeing Liza live and being unable to fathom that she wasn’t a drag queen. Alexis Arquette, in blonde wig, fishnets and little else, played the heretofore unknown child of Liza and Peter Allen. The son’s chip on his shoulder was the secret knowledge that he was, in fact, the offspring of Liza by way of Barry Manilow. This secret history was sung, rather well, to the tune of “Copacabana.”
“NewsRadio” co-star Andy Dick took part in a performance-art takeoff that began promisingly but went nowhere, and not quickly; some things — performance art chief among them — are beyond parody.
The nadir of the set was probably the sporting but apparently untalented Gay Boy Ric, who sang along to Liza’s early ’70s recording of “Son of a Preacher Man ,” his lone invention being to add the word “gay” to the song’s title.
Despite the talents of some of the performers, “Lizapalooza” was probably better in theory than in execution; by the end of the night, Liza’s performance in “Arthur 2” was beginning to look like consummate artistry.