Quintessential Liz: A Conversation with Liz Callaway

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Quintessential Liz:
A Conversation with Liz Callaway

March 11, 2021

By Todd Sussman

My interview with this theater and cabaret icon is actually a long-awaited reunion. Almost 40 years ago, I was invited by my friend (and lead producer) to attend several of the closed workshops and rehearsals for the Broadway musical, Baby. I had the rare opportunity to watch Liz shape and fine-tune her character and her performance. It was her first major Broadway role, and my first in-depth look at the genesis of a show and its soon-to-be celebrated star. Her talent was undeniable from day one…a naturalistic charm and a pitch-perfect, crystal-clear, simply beautiful voice! I knew I was witnessing something and someone magical.

After all these years, time has not diminished any of Liz’s noted qualities. I am grateful for her insights and candor as we contemplated her career-spanning achievements. The songs. The roles. The shows. And, as you will read, an unwavering devotion to both her craft and her audiences.

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Photo: Bill Westmoreland

Todd Sussman Your “Auto Tunes” performances from your car (available on YouTube) are inspired! I was watching you sing “Tell Me on a Sunday” from Song & Dance and my thought was: perfection. As you drive, a backdrop of gorgeous green trees provides your setting. As the song progresses, you get more emotional…fully in the moment. How did you come up with the idea for these self-contained mini productions?

Liz Callaway For as long as I can remember, I’ve rehearsed songs and learned music while driving. I love singing in the car. I’ve always done that. I think I like being in motion.

The first full song I recorded in the car was “Children Will Listen.” I was rehearsing it to sing at an event honoring Bernadette Peters. I never thought, “I’m going to do a series of these.” It’s just something I started doing for fun and rehearsal! The reaction has been pretty amazing. So many people come up to me and say, “I find your car videos so soothing.”

Even when I’m not videoing myself, I still sing in the car. During the pandemic, this helps me with the anxiety I sometimes feel. It’s not like I plan the setting. I don’t think to myself, “This location would make for a good scene for this song.” It just so happened when I recorded “Tell Me on a Sunday,” the area was really pretty.

I don’t know if you saw my car video of “Beautiful City” (Stephen Schwartz’s inspirational song from Godspell), which I recorded shortly before the world shut down. At the end of the song an ambulance siren came in – in the same key! I didn’t even realize it until I went back and listened. It was wild! I sent it to Stephen Schwartz and he couldn’t believe it. “Beautiful City” is a song I actually have recorded as a single. A lot of people are very moved by it because of everything we have all been going through right now.

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Todd If you get too emotional, do you have to pull over to the side of the road?

Liz The only time I ever started crying in the car was while rehearsing for the reunion concert of the original cast of Merrily We Roll Along. I was practicing “Our Time” and I couldn’t get through it. I was a basket case. There was something about singing that song again.

Todd It is wonderful to hear you sing these “Auto Tunes,” especially those you haven’t recorded before. How do you choose them?

Liz Most of the songs I sing in my car are songs I am practicing. I usually choose a song by first looking at the lyrics. Do I like the story it’s telling? If I’m putting together a cabaret show, I’ll have 14 songs to learn, and every song is a three-act play. Each show has its own process of taking the audience on a journey. There’s a real theatricality to a good cabaret show. I work really hard with my husband, Dan Foster, who’s also my director, and frequently with Alex Rybeck, my longtime musical director, who’s so brilliant.

Todd When I watched you perform “Tell Me on a Sunday,” I thought, “Liz would have been fantastic in Song and Dance.” Are there certain shows you would like to be cast in?

Liz I love the score of Song and Dance. I got very close to being Bernadette Peters’ stand-by, so I actually learned five songs from the show back in 1985. It was one of those jobs I really thought I might get, but then I didn’t. It ended up being a godsend because Bernadette missed two shows. Both were on Saturday, October 19, 1985, which was my wedding day! Thank God I didn’t get that part! But the music stayed with me. I love it. In terms of a show that’s on my bucket list? Someday I’d love to play Sally in Follies. I played young Sally to Barbara Cook’s Sally in Follies in Concert, so playing Sally now would be a wonderful coming full circle.

Todd You have enjoyed almost four decades as a beloved singer, actress, and recording artist. What are your tips for staying in it for the long haul?

Liz If you can, diversify! I’ve been very lucky to have had such great variety in my career. Like everyone, I’ve certainly had my share of ups and downs, so it helps to do a lot of different things. Before I did Miss Saigon, I moved to Boston for three years to host a TV show on CBS called Ready to Go. I learned so much about television. About five years ago, I discovered my entrepreneurial side. I’ve now produced three albums. I really enjoy the business aspect. I’m teaching myself how to make lyric videos, spending a lot of time learning the software, because I have all these songs I’ve recorded, and I’d love more people to discover my music. I’m all for challenging myself, and I think that’s really helpful in terms of longevity. It’s good to experiment and try a lot of different things. I’ve been very fortunate there has been an audience for that.

Todd I understand you are still able to sing songs you performed in the early ’80s in their same key! How do you preserve your voice?

Liz Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!I am also very careful not to sing anything that is going to damage my voice. If a note is too high to belt, I’m careful. I do sing “The Story Goes On” a half step lower. It usually comes at the very end of the evening. At that point, there’s no way for me to sing it in the original key!

I’ve always mixed certain notes instead of screaming something super high. Mixing is like singing in your head voice or soprano voice but doing it in a way that matches the power of belting or singing in your chest voice. I also think that mixing often provides more of an emotional quality than a big belt. It helps to keep singing. It’s a muscle. I certainly haven’t been singing as much in the pandemic, so anytime I do an online show or any show, I have to really work to get my voice strong again. I drink a ton of water, which is very helpful. Vodka is also another coping mechanism (laughs).

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Liz with Alex Rybeck

Todd You have had much success on Broadway and on recordings. Yet you always come home to cabaret performing, singing in the small clubs. What attracts you to the cabarets?

Liz I love the intimacy and the kind of storytelling you can do. I did a club act when I first moved to New York a couple of times before I started doing theater. I used to not love it. It used to really scare me to be in a small room and see people’s faces. Now, I love it. In fact, I don’t like if it’s too dark. In cabaret, you collaborate with the audience. They’re a huge part of the show! I want to see faces, which is such a complete change from how I was at the beginning. I was a very shy child, so I found cabaret really intimidating. Then one day, I had an epiphany when I realized cabaret is truly its own art form. It can be tremendous. A really good cabaret show could be the same as seeing a brilliant play or a musical. It has that kind of potential.

Todd You put a great deal of thought into creating your cabaret shows.

Liz Oh, God yes! As I mentioned, I pay close attention to the lyrics of the songs. Often, I’ll ask, “What do I need for this moment?” Occasionally, I might have a story I want to tell, and then I need to find a song that might be good for that moment. It’s not always, “These are the songs and then I’ll write what I want to say around them.” The one thing I’ve learned in cabaret is, when you introduce a song, don’t tell the song before you sing it. Your introduction should lead the audience to it and then let the song speak for itself. There’s a real art to writing that.

Todd Does a certain cabaret show hold a special memory for you?

Liz A couple of years ago I did a show called A Hymn to Her which was very special to me. It was a tribute to the women who’ve inspired me in my life. Eydie Gormé. Nora Ephron. Billie Jean King. Marilyn Maye. And others. Very eclectic. It was very autobiographical. I think people were really moved by that particular show. 

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Photo: Bill Westmoreland

Todd What was your cabaret debut?

Liz My debut in an actual cabaret club was at The Duplex in 1980. In fact, I’ve been digitalizing VHS’s and cassette tapes, and I found a cassette tape of that Duplex show. It was funny, “Meadowlark” was in it (laughs). I still do some of the same songs now. I haven’t listened to it yet, but I’m so happy I found it, though I don’t know what condition it’s in! Yeah, The Duplex.

Todd Travel back with me to the early 1980s. I had the great good fortune to watch you in several Baby workshops. One of the lead producers, my friend Ivan Bloch, invited me to watch the genesis of this Broadway show. It was a rare privilege for which I will always be grateful. As you crafted your performance, I could see a star being born. What do you recall about those workshops?

Liz It was thrilling! It was such a long time ago, Todd (laughs). Recently hosting the Baby reunion on Stars in the House brought back incredible memories. It was a gift to have that role. I was just starting out, so young and so green, and I had so much to learn. I didn’t have a lot of experience. Being able to do a reading of the show and then a workshop was so great for me. I was in the midst of it, so I don’t really know how it felt, because I was just doing it. We did a million backers’ auditions, so many presentations to raise money to do the show. It was like the little engine that could. It was a couple of years on my end. For Richard Maltby, Jr. and David Shire, it was seven years from when they had the idea to when it finally opened. There were many changes made. I was so young that I don’t think I realized at the time how extraordinary it was to create a role like that. I sure do now!

Todd Your role in Baby seemed tailor made for you. Even your character’s name was Lizzie. How did that role come to you? 

Liz It was a coincidence that her name was Lizzie! Merrily We Roll Along was my first Broadway show, and I was originally hired as the female swing, meaning I understudied all the women in the ensemble. A couple of weeks into rehearsal, I got an audition for a leading role in an off-Broadway musical called Gallery at the Public Theater, written by Ed Kleban, who wrote the lyrics to A Chorus Line. Gallery was going to be directed by Richard Maltby. I had a job already, but I went to the audition for the experience of it. I sang my song, and Richard came up to me and said, “You are just perfect for this show I am writing about a pregnant college student.” I thought, “Oh, that’s neat.” After Merrily closed, Richard told David Shire to come see me in a Frank Loesser revue I was doing at the King Cole Room. I said to David, so innocently, “If you guys ever need anyone to sing any of your songs, I’d love to help you out,” because I knew they were writing together. Now I think, “I can’t believe I said that,” but I really meant it. It was not like this manipulative ploy where I was thinking, “They’re writing songs for a musical, and I’m going to get my way in here.” It was very innocent, wanting to help them out.

Richard Maltby called me the next day and invited me over. I worked with him and David, and they taught me some songs from the show. Next thing I knew, we were doing a reading and a workshop that I never auditioned for! When I do master classes, I tell students, “Even if you audition for something and don’t get it, it doesn’t matter. Someone may see you or hear you and think of you for something else.” That’s what happened with Baby. By the way, I did get the lead in Gallery at the Public, but I ended up not doing it. I stayed with Merrily, and they put me in the chorus. It turned out I had made a wise decision because Gallery never opened!

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Richard Maltby, Jr. and David Shire

Todd One of Broadway’s all-time finest moments – and yours – is you singing “The Story Goes On,” a celebration of motherhood. When you first sang it, did you think, “I want to experience this one day?”

Liz No, not really (laughs). The first time I sang it, I was 22 years old. At that time, having a child was not on my radar. I remember being on Live at Five during Baby, and Pia Lindström, the interviewer, asked me, “How can you do a show about having a baby if you’ve never had a baby?” I told her, “Well, I have a dog.” (laughs) If someone asked me a question like that now, I’d have a much better answer. But back then, that’s where my mind was. I thought maybe someday I’d like to have kids, but certainly not at that stage.

Todd Did you reflect on that song when you became pregnant in real life?

Liz Of course. I actually never sang that song when I was pregnant with my son Nicholas. But I had a new appreciation for it, and I have even more of an appreciation for it now, because of the generations it talks about. I’ve often had people ask me to sing it. I do something called Cameo, which involves personalized video messages that people hire me to do. Someone just asked me to sing a little snippet of “The Story Goes On” for his wife of 44 years, because she’s the best grandmother in the world. The song has a whole new meaning for me now. It doesn’t matter how old you are or where you’re at in your life. There’s something in that song for everyone, I think. Even just getting through a pandemic. The lyrics, “all these things I feel and more, my mother’s mother felt and hers before,” make me think about what people have gone through in history. Difficult times. I find a certain comfort in “The Story Goes On,” to think about that song now, during this pandemic.

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Liz and Nicholas


Baby lyricist & director Richard Maltby, Jr. recalls working with Liz during the show’s creation.

Hi Todd,

I know you want to hear stories of Liz Callaway in rehearsal for Baby, and her process and progress through the show’s development, but the truth is, with Liz it was the other way around. We cast her and the part came to her. Now, she may remember things differently, but my recollection is this. Liz had the part the moment she auditioned for a different show and sang “Be a Lion” (from The Wiz). She had no performer affectations. She was herself. And that voice!

Equally pure and glorious and without mannerism. She was real. Who could tell if she had experience or not? She was simply that warm, sunny, joyous spirit. So from the moment she was cast, the part became her. I don’t recall there ever being any difficulties she had to confront, and when revisions were made, they always built on who Liz is. Liz didn’t have to become Lizzie. Lizzie became Liz.

The only problem she ever had – although she didn’t confess it until years later – was that she didn’t know, really know, the emotions in “The Story Goes On.” Years later, after she had had a baby herself, she did say, “Oh, now I see.” And you could see the difference in her performance. But no one would ever have known it in the original production. In some shows, you get lucky that way – and just sit back and watch as a performer brings a part to thrilling life. That is one of the miracles of the theatre. And we had it with Liz. And we had plenty of other things to do. We changed the show a lot during rehearsals and previews.

I hope this is what you want to hear. Now – I’m dying to hear what story Liz will tell.



Todd Seth Rudetsky deconstructed your performance of “The Story Goes On.” He is very direct when he breaks down these songs, and he is not afraid to point out any flaws. However, in the case of your vocal, he was elated with your every note. It gave me a new appreciation of what you have done here, because you make it look effortless. Was it a challenge to master this song?

Liz Back then, at least vocally, it wasn’t hard. I was very young, maybe fearless. I thought about what the words meant, but I didn’t think about the technical demands of the song. I just sang it. I didn’t think it was difficult. I remember, during the run of Baby, Maureen McGovern came up to me because she was going to be singing the song at an event. She asked, “How do you sing that every night? It’s so hard.” I remember thinking, “I don’t think it’s hard.” Maybe because I was so young, I thought it was kind of easy to sing. However, now I think, “Wow, this is a very challenging and demanding song!” (laughs) But a brilliant, beautiful, beautiful song!

Todd And you are the originator of that song! You debuted it.

Liz Yes! If you get to do that, originate a song and have a signature song, that’s very, very special. I am very grateful for that song, and the effect it has had on people. I’ve been told that people taking musical theater courses in colleges will play the Baby album a lot, which is very gratifying.

Baby – end of Act I
“The Story Goes On”

Todd You recently posted a rare gem to YouTube: you on The Merv Griffin Show performing “The Story Goes On” from 1984. How did you find that?

Liz I found a whole box of VHS tapes. My Mom had taped the Merv show off the TV. I have been digitalizing all these tapes just to see what’s there, and maybe put it on my YouTube channel. The clip from Merv Griffin did not exist anywhere. I looked high and low. I was so grateful to finally find it. When I watched it, I was just amazed at how easy it seemed. I looked so calm. It was really kind of amazing to watch me at that age singing that song. I also found a videotape of the first time I sang the national anthem for the Mets, and it was during the Baby run. I still sing the anthem for the Mets, but I now I get nervous before I do it. But back then, I looked so calm and relaxed!

Todd You could see in his introduction,Merv Griffin was very taken with you.

Liz Oh, yeah! He was very nice. I remember, it was such a whirlwind to fly out to L.A. after the matinee of Baby. I stayed at the Sunset Marquis, which was gorgeous. I had never experienced anything like that. The whole experience was very special.

Todd Often, as a Broadway show evolves in workshops, some great songs get excised. I saw that happen with my own eyes in Baby, with “The Bear, the Tiger, the Hamster and the Mole.” It was so memorable in those early workshops, but then it got cut. (The song eventually ended up in Maltby & Shire’s Closer Than Ever.) Luckily, that wasn’t your number. Did you have any “songs that got away” in Baby or any other productions you were in?

Liz Yes, we had some songs in Baby that were cut. Of course, with the song you’re talking about, there was an entire character that was cut in the workshop – a single woman. They decided to focus on the three couples, so they cut not only the song but the character as well. There were more group numbers that I sang in that were cut. Several of them are in Closer Than Ever. I’ve never had a song that, in the middle of rehearsal, they said, “Your song is gone!” I felt so terrible for Beth Fowler during Baby because they cut “Patterns” just a few days before the show opened. She recorded it on the cast album, so people just assume that she did it in the show, but it was cut. She was brilliant on that song. That had to be a very crushing experience. Now when Baby is done, it’s back in the show! Every song, even if it didn’t stay in the show, was a gem.

Todd You were chosen for the role of Ellen in Miss Saigon for its Broadway debut in 1991. Was that show the most elaborate production you ever appeared in?

Liz Yes. Cats was elaborate in its own way, but Miss Saigon was more elaborate. I also did a show called The Three Musketeers that was also very elaborate, but that closed in a week, so we don’t need to talk about that (laughs). The 30th anniversary of Miss Saigon is coming up. It’s crazy! I texted with Seth and told him he should do a Stars in the House for Miss Saigon’s 30th anniversary. It would be great fun to get Lea Salonga, Jonathan Pryce, and everyone back together again. Seth liked the idea, so we’ll see.

Todd Was Miss Saigon your first re-teaming with lyricist Richard Maltby, Jr. after Baby?

Liz Yes, it was. We did Baby again in Chicago, with my husband Dan, a few years after the show closed on Broadway. But yes, Miss Saigon was our first re-teaming. I gave birth to my son Nicholas during rehearsals. I started the show eight months pregnant, so there is a fair amount of that experience for which I am foggy on the details. I was so sleep-deprived then. 

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As Ellen in Miss Saigon

Todd Did Richard Maltby, Jr. bring you into Miss Saigon?

Liz No. I don’t think he had anything to do with that. My agent called and said, “I have an audition for you, for Ellen.” I remember I talked to Richard right after the audition. When I auditioned, I was four and half months pregnant. I said to my agent, “Don’t tell them I’m pregnant because they won’t see me. Let me audition in case they someday need a replacement.” I was going to be giving birth shortly before it opened. Richard called me that night and they said, “We’ll work around your pregnancy.” I had a two-week maternity leave, and my first week back from my two-week maternity leave was the first tech rehearsal in the theater!

Todd One of your big songs in Miss Saigon is “Now That I’ve Seen Her.” They replaced this with a new song called “Maybe” for the 2014 revival. Have you heard “Maybe?”

Liz Yes, I went to the opening of the revival on Broadway. I thought it was a wonderful production, and Katie Rose Clarke, who played Ellen, was terrific. As for the new song, I thought it was very good, but I’m not sure it totally solved the difficulty of that moment in the show. For the original show, “Now That I’ve Seen Her” went through many rewrites during rehearsals and previews. After the confrontation with Kim and Ellen, it was a challenge to decide what Ellen was thinking, and what, at that moment, the audience really needed to hear from her. What was going to happen to Kim and her son just seemed so much more important. “Now That I’ve Seen Her” is actually one of those songs that I find more rewarding to sing in concert than I did in the Broadway show. The same applies to “Since You Stayed Here,” from Brownstone, a show I did off-Broadway in 1986.

Todd Sometimes you perform with your sister, the amazing Ann Hampton Callaway, and reach out to your fans on social media for song suggestions.

Liz Yes, I love to ask for song suggestions…and travel suggestions…and recipe suggestions (laughs). That’s the beauty of Facebook. I get hundreds of excellent suggestions.

Liz and sister Ann Hampton Callaway
Photo: Bill Westmoreland

Todd I would love to hear Ann and you sing “Miss Celie’s Blues” from the movie, The Color Purple. In the film, it applies to a deep friendship. However, with Ann, the lyrics could be sung literally, as sisters. (“Sister, you’ve been on my mind. Sister, we’re two of a kind…”) Would you consider that song? 

Liz Yes. I am going to write that down and check it out, something for Ann and me to consider. Thank you for that. I’d have to look at the lyric and see if there’s a way in for us.

Todd Before Baby, your very first Broadway role was in Merrily We Roll Along (1981).To make your debut in a Stephen Sondheim musical is a very big deal. Though now highly regarded, the show closed after only 16 performances. What was your take-away from that whole experience?

Liz In retrospect, I think it was the ideal first Broadway show experience: to have worked with the best, some of the greatest artists – Stephen Sondheim, Hal Prince, George Furth – on something that was perceived as a failure. As heartbreaking as it was, it totally prepared me for the ups of downs of my career, and of what a career in the theater would be. It was a very, very special experience. The first Broadway show I ever saw – and I was like nine or ten – was Company, so I fell in love with Sondheim at a very young age. To make my Broadway debut in a show with music and lyrics by Sondheim, directed by Hal Prince and a book by George Furth, and in the same theater as Company, the Alvin Theatre, was incredible! I think it would be harder if your first show was a massive hit and then you went downhill from there. It might have been more difficult navigating the truly tough times that everyone has in a career in show business. I’m still very close with my cast mates from Merrily.

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Rehearsing Merrily We Roll Along with Hal Prince

Todd I was watching some clips where you sang several Sondheim songs on Inside the Actors Studio (1994), with Sondheim sitting just a few feet away. What was it like having that legendary composer/lyricist sitting so close as you sang his songs?

Liz (laughs) It was very intimidating and scary. Jim Walton, who I did Merrily with, also performed on the show. We had almost no rehearsal, so we were pretty much just reading the music. Jim was really great. He would look up and sing to the audience. I was glued to the page, because knowing Steve was right there, I didn’t want to screw up. I worship Stephen Sondheim! I think he’s just brilliant.

Liz with Stephen Sondheim

Todd You were a stand-in for Barbra Streisand during her concert rehearsals. I imagine it was quite something to see those concerts come to life from your vantage point. They were spectacular productions. Not to mention seeing Barbra and her team put a show together.

Liz It was a thrill! The co-director, Richard Jay-Alexander, who I had known for years, called one day and said they needed a stand-in for Barbra. He asked me if I would be interested in doing it. I thought for about a second, and said “Uh, yeah!” (laughs) I worked on three of the tours [Streisand Tour 2006, Streisand European Tour 2007, Back to Brooklyn (2012)]. Basically the gig was to learn all the material, and then, at any given moment in rehearsal, get on stage and run through parts of the show. Sometimes, I would be performing right in front of Barbra! It was pretty incredible getting to sing her gorgeous arrangements with that great orchestra. I got to work with Il Divo, Il Volo, and Chris Botti. Rehearsing with Chris was a lot of fun. He is a wonderful and talented guy. (For years, I have gone to see him at the Blue Note Jazz Club. He does a residency over the holidays, and frequently we will see his show on Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve, and then visit with him afterwards.) I also worked with Barbra’s son, Jason, who had not done a lot of live performing. I would sing with him a lot, as he got more comfortable being on stage.

It was very much a surreal, “Cinderella at the ball” experience. I had a few moments with Barbra directly, but I was very shy. I thought, “My God, that’s Barbra Streisand!” I am a huge Streisand fan, so watching her rehearse was the greatest master class ever. She’s so smart. Of course she’s a singer, but she’s also a director, and she was always aware of everything going on around her — be it the lighting, or the tiniest sound from an instrument in the pit. It was fascinating to watch how she would approach a song, and how it was different each time she would rehearse — always very fresh and in the moment. Amazing. What was especially nice was, after working so hard during the development of the show, when it came time to watch the opening concert, I had no pressure! I thought, “Great, I don’t have to do all this now.” (laughs) I could just relax and watch the show. The whole experience was wonderful. I would love the opportunity to do it again.

Todd Recently, the singing voice of the title character in the movie Anastasia (you) duetted with the voice of Broadway’s Anastasia (Christy Altomare) on “Journey to the Past.” Those who have not yet heard this new version have a treat in store: pitch perfect harmonies. It is also a true journey to the past for you. What was it like to revisit this song in the studio?

Liz It was very gratifying. I love that song so much. The whole experience of making the film Anastasia was one of my favorite jobs ever. I often sing from the movie in my concerts. And then working with Christy was just fantastic.

We first sang together when we were special guests at the Broadway Princess Party at Feinstein’s/54 Below. Benjamin Rauhala arranged the duet of “Journey” for us. When we were rehearsing, I told Christy, “We really have to record this!” She was totally game to do it. I produced the single, and Stephen Flaherty, the composer, played for us. It was so special for us to collaborate like that, and so nice for fans of both the movie and the Broadway show. A real treat was getting to sing the duet with Christy on the stage of the Broadhurst Theatre after a performance of the musical. It was right after the curtain call, and a surprise for the audience. They went wild!

Todd You have made a cottage industry of providing your crystal-clear vocals for animated movies. On your way to the leading princess roles, including The Swan Princess and Anastasia, you were still willing to sing in the chorus for some classics (including Beauty and the Beast and Pocahontas). I think that speaks volumes about your dedication to this craft.

Liz I love choral singing. I auditioned for Belle in Beauty and the Beast. I got called back but didn’t get the part. So I asked, “Do you need anyone for the chorus?” They said, “You want to sing in the chorus?” I said, “Absolutely. It would be fun.” And fun it was! It was a great chorus made up of so many wonderful Broadway performers. I did the same thing for Aladdin and Pocahontas. There was also a direct-to-video sequel of Anastasia, and I sang in the chorus of that, just for the pure fun of it.

Todd Your personal story – meeting Dan Foster, the man who would become your husband – would make for a great show. Someone should write that.

Liz Yes! It’s a wonderful, very romantic story, and I’m so grateful that he was persistent. He saw the first preview of Baby and then spent months asking me to go out with him. I finally went out with him to say, “I’m sorry I have been kind of stand-offish. You’re a nice guy, but I don’t want to date you.” Well, we ended up closing three restaurants that night, and moved in together two weeks later. It was very quick. We have been married 35 years now! Little side note: Dan first saw Baby because he was an actor, and he had auditioned for the show. He went to see who got the role. During his pursuit of me, he eventually saw the show 14 times! Years later, after we were married, he was audited for the year we met. When he presented the 14 ticket stubs to the auditor, his justification was, “Well, I am an actor, and seeing theatre is my education.” The auditor wasn’t buying it! Eventually he confessed that he was interested in this girl in the show, so he saw it many times, and now we’re married. The auditor immediately changed her mind and accepted the tickets! A romantic!

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Liz and husband, Dan

Todd Wow! Liz, thank you so much for your time and generosity! What is next for you?

Liz I’m trying to figure out what’s next. Last October, I made a somewhat crazy, last minute decision to record a Christmas album, Comfort and Joy: An Acoustic Christmas. I did it in three weeks. It was just me and the fabulous guitarist, Peter Calo, and that was an amazing experience. I would love to make another album. Or at the very least, record some singles. I have some concerts scheduled for September through December, and fingers crossed, some of my canceled shows from the summer of 2020 will happen this year. My cabaret shows with my sister, Ann, both Sibling Revelry and Broadway the Calla-way!, are rescheduled for early 2022. When I am able to perform live again, I imagine I’ll get in front of an audience and I’ll just cry, because I won’t believe that we’re finally all back together again. I can’t wait for that.


Visit lizcallaway.com

Subscribe to Liz’s YouTube Channel at https:\\www.youtube.com/c/LizCallaway

Special thank you to Richard Maltby, Jr., Ralph Lampkin, Jr., and Dan Foster

Write to Todd Sussman at Toddaos@aol.com.

Todd Sussman

Todd Sussman is a graduate of Columbia University, where he studied journalism and film. A longtime entertainment writer, he is the author of the Blockbuster Video books, The Greatest Movies of All Time, Volumes 1 & 2. He began his writing career as the film critic for The Miami News and soon became the editor of Blockbuster Video Magazine. For his work on the magazine, Todd received an Addy Award for Best In-House Publication, one of several Addy honors he holds. The Walt Disney Company commissioned him to write an interview promoting the film, Who Framed Roger Rabbit (for which Todd wrote the questions as well as the answers, in character as the beloved Roger Rabbit). He had the privilege of working as the Liner Notes Editor on the following projects for Barbra Streisand: Encore (her 11th Number One album), Release Me 2 (with various collector editions), and her tour program for The Music…The Mem’ries…The Magic! He also edited the liner notes for: A Capitol Christmas - Volumes 1 & 2, Neil Diamond’s Classic Diamonds, Nat King Cole & Friends’ A Sentimental Christmas, and Kristin Chenoweth’s Happiness Is Christmas. Recent cover stories for Cabaret Scenes include Johnny Mathis, Kristin Chenoweth, and Stephen Schwartz.