Following his successful June 2006 performances at the concert's original New York City venue, Wainwright — with the help of Sam Mendes and Stephen Oremus — will now bring the event to former Garland haunts: London's Palladium (Feb. 18 and 25, 2007) and Paris' L'Olympia (Feb. 20, 2007). A Los Angeles visit — aiming for the Hollywood Bowl — is reportedly in the works.
Musical director Oremus, of Broadway’s Wicked, Avenue Q and All Shook Up, returns to work with the singer, bringing the show back to life in its entirety, as he did for the two shows at Carnegie Hall's Isaac Stern Auditorium. Mendes (Cabaret, Gypsy) — currently working on a documentary with the singer — will also be involved with the event.
Complete with a 40-piece orchestra, Wainwright re-creates the original April 23, 1961, concert Garland performed at the height of her late career. "The greatest single night in show business,” as it was called, featured the "Wizard of Oz" star singing 26 standards, show stoppers and songs from her films. Wainwright performs his own interpretations of the songs — not mimicking Garland — over the same orchestrations.
Among the songs featured in the evening are "When You're Smiling (The Whole World Smiles With You)," "Almost Like Being In Love / This Can't Be Love (Medley)," "Do It Again," "You Go to My Head," "Alone Together," "Who Cares? (As Long as You Care for Me)," "Puttin' on the Ritz," "How Long Has This Been Going On," "Just You, Just Me," "The Man That Got Away," "San Francisco," "I Can't Give You Anything but Love," "That's Entertainment," "Come Rain or Come Shine," "You're Nearer," "A Foggy Day," "If Love Were All," "Zing! Went The Strings of My Heart," "Stormy Weather," "You Made Me Love You / For Me And My Gal / The Trolley Song (Medley)," "Rock-A-Bye Your Baby with A Dixie Melody," "Over The Rainbow," "Swanee," "After You've Gone" and "Chicago."
Garland's performance was released as a live recording and earned five Grammy Award nominations, winning for Album of the Year and Best Female Vocal album. At the time, it topped Billboard's music chart for 13 consecutive weeks. The album was remastered and reissued in 2001 for the 40th anniversary — the impetus for Wainwright's concerts. Born Frances Ethel Gumm on June 10, 1922, in Grand Rapids, MN, Garland grew to become an all-around performer, acting in comedy and drama, singing and dancing. She is known across the globe for her movie musical turn as Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz."
In 1940, Garland won a special Academy Award "for her outstanding performance as a screen juvenile during the past year" — having appeared in "The Wizard of Oz" and "Babes in Arms." Other films include "For Me and My Gal," "Meet Me in St. Louis," and Academy Award-nominated roles in "A Star Is Born" and "Judgment at Nuremberg."
Following her acclaimed, self-titled performance at Broadway's Palace Theater in 1951, she was honored with a special Tony Award. Garland has also appeared as a pivotal character in Broadway's The Boy From Oz and Off-Broadway's recent The Property Known as Garland.
Wainwright's music career was fated from his birth as his parents are folk stars Kate McGarrigle and Loudon Wainwright III. Raised in Montreal, he began piano studies at age six and by the time he was 13, he was touring with his mother, his aunt Anna and his sister Martha (now also a recording artist). He has four solo albums ("Rufus Wainwright," "Poses," "Want One" and "Want Two") and appears on the soundtracks for "Moulin Rouge," "The L Word," "I Am Sam," "Kiki & Herb Will Die For You" and "Wig in a Box - Songs from and inspired by Hedwig and the Angry Inch." His website is at www.rufuswainwright.com.
Tickets and more information on the concerts can be found on Wainwright's official site at rufuswainwright.com.