Ryan, who will play Sally Bowles in an upcoming West End version of the musical, met with Minnelli backstage at the Hampton Court Palace Festival in England on Thursday (14Jun12) to quiz her about the leading lady role.
Minnelli scooped an Oscar after playing Bowles in the 1972 movie adaptation of the Broadway production, and the Brit fears she won't be able to live up to her iconic performance.
Ryan says, "She's a legend and truly amazing. When I played the Bionic Woman I didn't want to revisit any of the old shows, but with Cabaret it's ultimately going to be Liza's role. I'm just absorbing as much as possible before rehearsals start."
Ryan will make her West End debut at London's Savoy Theatre in the autumn (12), and admits she's enjoying rehearsals with her co-star, singer Will Young.
She tells Britain's Sunday Mirror, "Will's great too. On the first day he pitched up (arrived) with a bunch of roses he had picked from his garden for me."