Liza Minnelli's Oscar-winning role as the madcap yet troubled Sally Bowles in the 1972 film version of "Cabaret" was just that - a performance.
The veteran star of stage and screen makes it clear she and Sally are not one and the same.
"To find Sally was very interesting. She was a character I really had to work at," says Minnelli, who appears 8 p.m. Saturday, March 24, at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City. "But the proof you do it well is that (people) think you're like that."
The Liza persona most people see these days is the ebullient performer known for her powerhouse renditions of "New York, New York," "And The World Goes 'Round" and the title track of "Cabaret."
That side will be showcased next month with the release of "Legends Of Broadway: Liza Minnelli Live At The Winter Garden" (Masterworks Broadway), the first CD ever produced from her famous sold-out 24-performance run in January 1974.
However, the three-time Tony-winner also showed her quieter side with her 2010 album, "Confessions" (Decca U.S.), a collection of favorite songs, accompanied by pianist and friend Billy Stritch.
Now a teacher at the Actor's Studio, Minnelli shares some of her career - and life - lessons, and previews her current, more intimate act.
Q: How do you keep the proceedings fresh when you're performing "Cabaret" for the umpteenth time?
A: You go completely into character, and you have to stay right in that second, like you've never sung it before. It's that way in all the songs. You always have to be in them - it's really an acting exercise.
Q: Is that the advice you give your students?
A: You have to be the person who's singing the song, and if you are concentrating on that, you're not concentrating on being nervous or what you look like - you're in it.
Q: As the daughter of Judy Garland and director Vincente Minnelli, did your parents school you in show business?
A: It's odd, but I learned more from my dad. My mom was just my mom. If I would go to see her in concert, that was one thing, but I wasn't around her like that. I said to my Mom, "I do want to go on Broadway. But I promise I would never use you." That made her cry, so that's what I've done.
My father, he had an eye for things. Between the two of them, it was the best you could get. If I said to my father, "I don't know how to do this," he would say: "Think about it. Just stop, wait a minute and think about it, and usually you can figure out how to do it - unless it's just a crummy idea in the first place."
Q: On "Confessions," you take the music down a notch. Was this something you have wanted to do for a while?
A: It was something that felt right to do at the moment. I'd broken my foot, and there was nothing much I could do than sing quiet songs. I did it with Billy Stritch, but it didn't start as an idea for an album - it started out as a way to pass the time. We both knew these wonderful songs. Some people collect stamps - I collect lyrics.
Q: How do these songs fit into your current show?
A: It's much more intimate than anything I've done. I do (the hits), but I do them in the right place. It's interesting where you play songs, because you build a show differently. I have no dancers and only six musicians. It's just me and you and the band.