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Sunday, June 13, 2021


Tonya Koenderman gives her characteristically energised performance in a powerful tribute to Liza Minnelli. (Review by Caroline Smart & Keith Millar)

“Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety”. This quote from Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra perfectly sums up musical theatre star Tonya Koenderman, who seems to defy any kind of ageing process.

She gives her characteristically energised and zestful performance in a powerful tribute to Liza Minnelli in her show Liza with a “T which has one more performance this afternoon (June 13, 2021) at Rhumbelow Theatre with another coming up at the Northlands Bowling Club.

The show tells the story of Liza’s life – her close relationship with her father, Vincent Minnelli; her struggle to conquer drug and alcohol abuse; her many relationships, and of the influence her mother, Judy Garland, had over her. The production pays tribute to the songs Liza made famous such as Cabaret, Maybe this Time, New York, New York, All That Jazz and many more.

With a minimum of costume changes – including a towelling dressing gown and a shower cap! - she explains how Liza tried to establish herself in her own right and not to be a carbon copy of her mother

While most of the songs are powerful and passionate, Koenderman also proves her sensitivity and gentleness in numbers such as Charles Aznavour's achingly beautiful Quiet Love.

Highlights for me were her dramatic If You Hadn’t but you Did; the delightful All That Jazz and the inspiring New York, New York. The main focus is on songs by Kander and Ebb from Cabaret – the movie that made Minnelli an Oscar-winning icon and would forever define her. At one stage, Koenderman mounts a chair in a breathtaking few moments, balancing on one leg and leaving us all awestruck.

Keith Millar reviewed her show at Rhumbelow in 2015, and I simply can’t improve on his comments which summed up the performance perfectly:

“She ticked every box in her outstanding impersonation of the great star. She displays the same waif-like vulnerability, the wicked sense of humour, and the sultry sexiness which made Minnelli such an appealing personality. She has also perfected all the quirky moves and mannerisms Minnelli employed on stage.

Then there is the voice. Koenderman is a slightly-built person – as is Liza Minnelli herself – yet she has a fabulously powerful singing voice. Her diction is remarkable and her intonation perfect. At times she sounds so much like Minnelli that it is enough to send shivers down your spine.” – Keith Millar

Liza with a “T” has one more show at Rhumbelow Durban this afternoon at 14h00. There will be a further performance at Northlands Bowling Club in Durban North on June 19.

Tickets R160. Bring food picnic baskets or buy from the venue. A full bar is available (no alcohol may be brought on to the premises). Limited secure parking available.

All seating will be at separate tables and the venues will obviously be seating co-habiting couples and/or family members together.

With the current Covid levels, capacity is limited to 50 people max. Booking is essential on email: or through Computicket.

The show at the Northlands Bowling Club in Durban North on June 19 starts at 19h30. The same booking details apply. – Caroline Smart


Tonya Koenderman will present another show – “Growing Old Disgracefully” – at Rhumbelow Theatre on June 16, 2021, at 14h00. Same booking details apply