It’s been a few months since I’ve written, but I just had to come up for air to share some exciting news with you: Michael Feinstein has invited me to join the Judy Garland Carnegie Hall Concert Restoration Project team as Editor, for The Judy Garland Heirs Trust. As part of this project to preserve Judy Garland’s musical legacy, our aim is to restore all of the original symphonic arrangements from the 1961 Carnegie Hall Concert and make them available for live performance once again. Since late last summer I have been restoring and performing a handful of Judy’s original arrangements that the Trust, of which Michael Feinstein is a trustee, very graciously shared with me. But to get the chance to work on a preservation project like this is so exciting that I still have to stop and pinch myself. (And then I look at the long road ahead and it sobers me up in a hurry, but I digress…)Read More
During the past five months I’ve been on a very steep learning curve — actually, more like something involving tornadoes and the yellow brick road — but on January 21st I’m going to get to share with 2000 people some of the results of the arduous journey: I’m going to get to sing two of Judy Garland’s original arrangements onstage with a symphony orchestra.
Of course, I’ve been singing Judy’s tunes with orchestras for a few years now, in wonderful arrangements based on the originals by two terrific arrangers (see an earlier post, "Getting Happy"). But for someone like me who loves time travel and Judy, suddenly having access to the actual note-for-note arrangements that we’ve all heard on her albums was an incredible stroke of good fortune that I’d never even allowed myself to hope for.
Here’s how it happened:Read More
While I was performing in The Boy From Oz in Naples last winter, I got a call from the Bemus Bay Pops asking whether I would be interested in doing the Garland portion of a Frank Sinatra & Judy Garland symphonic pops concert. How very interesting, I thought, because although there are only a handful of recorded Frank and Judy duets, they had performed together regularly on wartime radio programs, then decades later on a 1962 television special along with Dean Martin — and for my money, they were the two finest pop singers of the 20th century. Moreover, they were close friends for nearly three decades — a friendship that also included two brief romantic affairs: in 1949 while Judy was still married to Vincente Minnelli, and in 1955, while she was briefly separated from Sid Luft and Frank’s marriage to Ava Gardner was on the skids.
But perhaps most interesting and not widely known, is that Judy and Frank were members of the original “Rat Pack,” a social group of fun-loving, hard-drinking night owls who would convene at the home of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in the tony Holmby Hills area of Los Angeles.Read More