Chameleonic superstar Trevor Ashley strikes again!
Reuniting fans with his most successful drag impersonation, Liza Minnelli, ‘Liza’s Back! (Is Broken)’ showcases Trevor’s immense talent, singing all the Broadway hits Liza never got to perform.
“I wanted to do a brand new Liza show,” Trevor says. “I’ve been doing Liza for seven years. The show is a fantasy of all the roles Liza should have done in her career, including the roles she shouldn’t have done… I came up with the idea of what would she talk about, who would have asked her to do what. Of course, it’s all fictional or conjecture – or is it? Who knows?”
An extraordinary drag artiste, Trevor’s characters are perfect, earning him praise all over the world. As Liza Minnelli, his performance is uncannily accurate.Image © John McRae
Combined with his witty charm, he successfully channels the diva with his glamorous gift of impersonation, singing hit after hit from iconic shows such as ‘The Sound of Music’ and ‘Wicked’.
Trevor says he didn’t need extensive training to become the famous star.
“I sort of worked out how to [move my mouth differently]. I think because I watched Liza so much as a kid, it seeped into me somehow. I’ve always had a mimic’s ear, so that’s how it came about. I never studied hard. It was in me already."
“I knew exactly what she would do, how she talks,” Trevor continues.Image © John McRae
“Obviously, moments [in the show] are more caricature than decent impersonation, but I believe it works. Liza’s become a force of her own, a life of her own, for me.”
Beginning his drag career surrounded by drag veterans in Sydney’s Albury Hotel, Trevor says the pub diva drag shows were inspirational for creating his own material.
“Doing drag in the pubs for so many years allowed me to develop my ability to dress up and perform [on stage], which was the biggest preparation for me. Having lived all my 20’s in drag was how it sort of came about. I could be Liza so easily because I’m comfortable in my own body and in myself.”
Trevor’s homage to the cabaret queen could not be any sincerer.
A self-confessed Liza Minnelli fan, his love for the talented performer started at a young age.
“As a kid, [I’d] watch all her videos, all her concerts. I think her Liza Live Radio is extraordinary. It’s one of the most amazing shows anyone could give."
“That’s what I tried to at least model myself on. Liza is someone who can get up and entertain for hours. She’ll dance, she’ll sing, she’ll do whatever she needs to do. I’ve tried to model myself off people like her and Bette Midler, these women who get up and do full concerts for hours and hours on end. You’re never bored, and you never feel at any time they could be giving you more.”
Trevor’s honest love for performing is as bold, bright, and bodacious as his outfits.Image © John McRae
“I hope [the audience] has a laugh. There’s a lot of big numbers. People always enjoy somebody working hard for them, and I do… Regarding ‘Liza’s Back,’ everyone has such a wonderful time with it. The music is great, the band fantastic. People come out hearing the biggest songs written for Broadway in an entirely different way."
"I’m lucky because I have done so many cabaret performances over the years, and I think for me it sometimes gets easier to have a successful show because you’ve done a few. However, it can go either way. You can never get too cocky about these things. I like to put as much comedy as I can possibly have with my shows, and I certainly have with this one. It’s still a man in a dress, so it must be funny.”
As Trevor Ashley’s first solo show in three years, ‘Liza’s Back! (Is Broken)’ is a sure-fire hit for fans and newcomers alike.
And if Liza ever does break her back and Australia misses out on the real deal, we’ll know who to call to replace her! Who would ever know the difference?
'Liza's Back! (Is Broken)' plays at Queensland Performing Arts Centre 17-22 January.