Picks and Pans Review: Liza Minnelli in 'sam Found Out,' a Triple Play

UPDATED 05/30/1988 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 05/30/1988 at 01:00 AM EDT

ABC (Tues., May 31, 10 p.m. ET)

Journey back a few decades with Mz. Liza to a time when Broadway, the street, didn't stink (but some plays in the neighborhood did). It was an innocent, simple and often twinkie time in showbiz. Now Minnelli re-creates the feel of that era—and all the good and bad that comes with it—in an energetic salute to the stage. She stars in three playlets, all titled Sam Found Out. Lanford (Burn This) Wilson wrote her a teensy drama, with Liza as a hooker and Ryan O'Neal as her pimp. The dialogue follows the vogue of dramaturgy—it's a bit turgid and hard to follow (playwrights can get away with that because their audiences are held captive in tiny, expensive seats and don't have remote controls). The skit has its clever moments—but its predictable ending isn't one of them. Next there's a little romance by Terrence (The Rink) McNally and Wendy (Isn't It Romantic) Wasserstein, with Lou Gossett Jr. as a foreign prince who falls in love with Liza as a down-on-her-luck hoofer. Sweet but silly. Then comes a John Kander and Fred Ebb (Cabaret) musical about Liza and John Rubenstein and the dog that's keeping them apart. It has melodies you can hum—but then, so do gum commercials. I give Liza an A for ambition, but her show gets: B-

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