Though scheduled for an Oct. 16 Broadway opening, Jim Bailey's biographical revue Judy Garland Live! spent most of the spring and summer delaying an announcement of which Broadway theatre (a Shubert venue) it would occupy. The reason turns out to be that the production isn't quite ready yet.
JMS Productions, Inc.'s producer Jennifer M. Sanchez has now announced that the revue is officially "postponed several months" because but still hoping for a Broadway perch this spring. The main reason for the delay is that the show has yet to be fully capitalized.
According to spokespersons, the show has been busy on the creative side, with Joey McKneely recently signed to direct and choreograph and Ann Hould-Ward (Beauty and the Beast) providing the costumes. McKneely's credits include The Life and Smokey Joe's Cafe.
For years, legendary actress and singer Judy Garland has been the province of cruel comedians depicting her as a pill-swigging boozehound and female impersonators mining her mix of heartbreak and chin-up gusto for an inside-y crowd of post-Stonewallers. In the person of Jim Bailey, Judy Garland Live! was set to open Oct. 16 — fifty years to the day after the real Garland opened her famous Palace Theatre stint.
Garland's original musical director, Mort Lindsey, will helm a 16 piece orchestra while Bailey makes the songs and stories of La Judy come alive. Bailey, an impersonator of such personages as Peggy Lee and Phyllis Diller for more than a quarter century, has trained as an opera singer and sung before four presidents and the British Royal Family. Not only has he played Barbra Streisand on TV's "Ally McBeal," he's dueted as Judy Garland with no less than Liza Minnelli.
Producer Sanchez co-produced the York Theatre's well-received chamber musical, Suburb, as well as West Coast cabaret evenings with Michael Feinstein and Andrea Marcovicci. Her credits also mention a UK West End revue of Jerry Herman tunes, "The Best of Times," which is apparently Off-Broadway-bound next year.
A child star made legendary by "The Wizard of Oz" and her lighthearted flicks with Mickey Rooney, Garland graduated to more grown-up fare (Meet Me in St. Louis, Judgment at Nuremberg) but also succumbed to an unhealthy lifestyle. Thanks to her emotional, cathartic concerts, she became (and remains) an icon for the gay community and still holds a fascination for millions, as proved by the ratings and reviews granted a recent TV biopic.
— By David Lefkowitz