about THE SHOW
In 1964, legendary icon Judy Garland was optimistic about the future. Only 3 years removed from a blistering, Oscar-nominated comeback performance in the film “Judgment at Nuremberg”, not to mention her greatest live concert success at Carnegie Hall, Judy was now hot on the heels of having produced 26 triumphant yet tumultuous hours of variety television for CBS with “The Judy Garland Show”. Following the unceremonious cancellation of her CBS show, Judy was living with then-fianceé Mark Herron in London, making spectacular appearances at the Palladium and wondering what would be her next big move. Judy decided to revisit a project that she’d abandoned many years before; A long-gestating opportunity to not only set the record straight about her storied and troubled career and family life, but to also settle old scores through incendiary recriminations and a litany of untold truths about every person who had ever wronged her. Judy Garland had decided to finally write her memoirs.
Faced with the herculean task of creating a cohesive through-line from the story of her life, friend and dealmaker Irving “Swifty” Lazar directed Judy to put her considerable talents as a raconteur to good use and record her thoughts on tape for dictation to a ghostwriter. The results were less than publishable. Impaired by the addictions that would eventually take her life, Judy’s recordings reveal a side of her psyche that the public would never see so nakedly… A self-professed “angry lady”, broken by decades of abuse from the press and a Hollywood machine that made her victim to her own circumstances, left penniless by a never-ending parade of grifters who convinced her they had her best interests at heart, and unable to accept the role that addiction had played in her own ability to be a mother to her children. The tapes revealed a woman who was seemingly hurt by every person she had ever trusted, all in the name of performing the one trick she could execute better than anybody else: bringing joy to people all over the world through her unparalleled talents, infectious warmth, and indomitable spirit.
Performer Jason Powell brings these spoken words to a live and intimate audience, unadorned with spectacle or artifice, presented as nakedly honest as they escaped from Ms. Garland’s own soul more than fifty years ago. With flickers of the incendiary wit that defined Judy’s personality to all who knew her both onstage and off, it is clear that the impact of this blistering account was intended for eventual public consumption, even if not in the form of the scattered thoughts on these spools of reel-to-reel tape. Judy’s yearning to be heard and understood is not only implicit, it is repeatedly and emphatically demanded by the lady herself.
These words do not paint a complete picture of the largely misunderstood legend, but they do shine a light on some of the private struggles (as well as personal triumphs) of a woman who felt misrepresented along every step of her long and fabled career. Today, in a quickly-changing cultural climate in which women everywhere are not only demanding to be heard, believed, and respected, but are actually getting the vindication they so rightly deserve, this performance of these spoken words serves as a long-overdue benediction of Judy’s truth. We invite you to join us in this loving tribute to a woman who gave so much of herself to a world that could never truly understand the cost.