Final cast and program highlights have been posted for Carnegie Hall Celebrates the Music of Judy Garland, a two-concert salute to "The World's Greatest Entertainer" on June 16 and June 17 at 7:30 PM -- and, from the looks of things, it's just as Judy sang in 1943's Thousands Cheer: "The Joint Is Really Jumpin' Down at Carnegie Hall."
Family friend and fellow MGM player Robert Stack will join Garland's daughter, Lorna Luft, in hosting the two evenings. Each night will offer a completely different program, except that both will begin with Garland's orchestra-conductor Mort Lindsay leading the 29-piece orchestra in the same rousing overture that opened her Carnegie Hall concerts.
On the first evening -- Tuesday, June 16 -- guest artists include Betty Comden, Nancy Dussault, Adolph Green, Gogi Grant, Jerry Maren, Robert Morse, Bebe Neuwirth and Weslia Whitfield. The following night, the line-up will be Shana Alexander, Lionel Bart, Lea DeLaria, Robert Goulet, Skitch Henderson, Dee Hoty, Jack Jones, Alan King and Elaine Stritch. There will be appearances both evenings by Jerry Herman and Vikki Carr.
Among the program highlights:
* Lorna Luft will sing "The Man That Got Away," the Oscar-nominated number from her parents' A Star Is Born, and an MGM golden-oldie, "San Francisco." * A trio of Garland-associated songs will be delivered by Broadway stars Robert Morse ("How About You?"), Dee Hoty ("As Long As He Needs Me") and Bebe Neuwirth ("Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart"). The last is the song which Garland used to melt the heart of Louis B. Mayer and win herself a contract at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
* Elaine Stritch and Skitch Henderson are to dispense the Garland stories, along with journalist Shana Alexander and comedian Alan King, Judy's "opening act" in the '50s.
* Robert Goulet, who co-starred with Garland on television and in the animated feature Gay Purr-ee, will perform Charlie Chaplin's wistful and yearning "Smile."
* Jerry Herman has whipped up a special arrangement of "That's Entertainment."
* Other songsmiths heard from: "As Long As He Needs Me," which Lionel Bart wrote for Oliver!, and "Just in Time," which Betty Comden and Adolph Green wrote for Bells Are Ringing -- both big hits for Garland--will be rendered by the authors.
* Nancy Dussault will reprise "Make Someone Happy," a number which she introduced on Broadway in Do Re Mi in 1960--and which Garland "ran with" in her concerts.
* "Quiet Please, There's a Lady on Stage," a song salute to Garland which was written by her one-time son-in-law (the late Peter Allen), will delivered by Jack Jones.
* "Munchkin" Jerry Maren will do his The Wizard of Oz hit, "The Lollipop Guild."
* Vikki Carr, Lea DeLaria, Gogi Grant and Weslia Whitfield will raid The Garland Songbook ("You're Nearer," "Stormy Weather," "I Can't Get You Anything But Love").
* The original film-clip sequence, helmed by David Engel, includes -- in addition to "The Joint Is Really Jumpin' Down at Carnegie Hall" -- "When You're Smiling" from Garland's 1962 CBS-TV special, "The Portland Fancy" from her last MGM movie (Summer Stock) and silent footage of the two legendary Carnegie Hall concerts in April of '61.
The multi-colored sequin jacket worn by Garland at those two concerts -- on loan from collector Michael Benson -- will be on display in Carnegie Hall's Rose Museum.
Coinciding with Carnegie Hall Celebrates the Music of Judy Garland are (1) the publication of Lorna Luft's autobiography, "Me and My Shadows: A Family Memoir," by Pocket Books, and (2) the release by EMI-Music Distribution of a Judy Garland album in conjunction with the A&E television network series, "Biography." The latter release marks a new alliance between the two companies to create a series of record albums based on musical personalities who have been profiled on the "Biography" series.
The new Garland salute is the Hall's fourth annual "American Popular Song Celebration," a summer series that surveys the work of a particular artist, song style or composer. Past seasons have honored Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole and MGM musicals.
Both concerts are produced by John Schreiber, and their script has been written by Murray Horwitz and by John Fricke (author of "Judy Garland: World's Greatest Entertainer" and writer-producer of A&E's Emmy-winning Judy: Beyond the Rainbow).
Tickets -- priced at $18, $32, $43, $55, $75 -- are available at the Carnegie Hall Box Office (154 West 57th St.) or may be charged to major credits cards by calling CarnegieCharge at (212) 247-7800.
-- By Harry Haun