Get Happy! A Judy Garland Celebration

Joan Ellison. Photo credit: Beth Segal

Get Happy! A Judy Garland Celebration honors the woman Fred Astaire dubbed "the greatest entertainer who ever lived" by capturing the effervescent mix of swing tunes and classic songs that characterized the more than two dozen films she made at MGM beginning at age thirteen, through her triumphant comebacks: a record-breaking run at the Palace, a Grammy-winning concert at Carnegie Hall, and her own television show.

Judy's original concert arrangements (courtesy of the Judy Garland Heirs Trust) and orchestrations recreated from her original recordings —MGM's musical archives were discarded in a landfill in 1969 — will take you on a nostalgic trip from technicolor Hollywood to the swinging '60s, with Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart, The Boy Next Door, The Trolley Song, You Made Me Love You, The Man That Got Away, I Got the Sun in the Morning, Get Happy, Johnny One-Note, Yes, Come Rain or Come Shine, When You're Smiling, That's Entertainment, On the Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe, Over the Rainbow, and many other hits. Listen here

The judy Garland Carnegie Hall Concert Restoration project

Blog post (October 17, 2017): 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 all about it.....

Retrophonic Christmas

Joan's holiday symphonic pops concert includes Judy Garland’s original arrangements of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” from Meet Me in St. Louis and “The Christmas Song” from her 1963 holiday television special, Eydie Gorme’s “White Christmas” and “Sleigh Ride,” Peggy Lee's original chart of "The Christmas Waltz," and Ella Fitzgerald’s “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” and “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm.” Recent performances have been with the Augusta Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Pops Orchestra, and Erie Philharmonic.

Joan Ellison sings "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" with the Cleveland Pops Orchestra, live at the Palace Theatre, Playhouse Square, Cleveland.


...Vocal prowess [and] organic grasp of the classic songs...  Michael Feinstein

[Joan] doesn't just blow off the dust — she gets inside the raw material and inhabits it.  Piers Ford, Cry Me a Torch Song

Another highlight…is Joan Ellison’s wondrous performance of ‘Over the Rainbow.’ Her voice strong and clear,…Ellison gives a master class in interpretation. Painting a picture with her talent and emotion, Ellison’s irresistible performance inspires an electric reaction from the crowd. New Jersey Stage

For a singer who’s been obsessed with Judy Garland since childhood, who is Judy-esque in appearance, and who’s a near voice double for her idol, the path is clear: Don’t fight it. Thus, Joan Ellison’s cabaret homage to Garland proved to be a captivating evening of song…The voice is big and clear with plenty of range. Ellison can belt with the best of them, [and] is very personable and utterly likeable...New York deserves to see and hear more of Joan Ellison.  Marilyn Lester, Cabaret Scenes

Ellison’s voice is tender and sincere, completely capable of the stunning vocal athleticism for which Garland is remembered.  Emily Votaw, WOUB Public Media

Ellison is all freshness, vulnerability, and charm, singing up a storm (and, yes, a rainbow)…The singer brings a keen blend of vocal splendor and verbal crispness to every musical moment. She inhabits the texts as if living them anew.  Donald Rosenberg, The Plain Dealer

Joan Ellison, on the other hand, is a ringer for Garland… — the voice, the mannerisms, the look. But this is more than an imitation.  She conveys the authority of a superstar. "The Boy from Oz" was worth seeing just for her breathtaking performance.  Bill O’Neill, Collier Citizen

The quality of Ellison's voice was perfect.  Danielle Miceli, New York Cabaret Today

Joan Ellison recently appeared in a summer season-closing concert with the Wheaton Symphony Orchestra. The program is "Get Happy! Judy Garland in Hollywood." She is OUTSTANDING as a singing artist and recapturing not only Garland's vocal sound, but even mannerisms of movement on stage and speaking. Our audience loved her and the calls to the office after the event are copious. This reference is unsolicited, so I hope Joan doesn't mind. Personally, I am looking for each and every opportunity to share the stage with her in seasons forward.  Kevin McMahon, Conductor

Joan Ellison sings "Over the Rainbow" as part of the “Judy at Carnegie Hall” concert recreation at the Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park, New Jersey. (Conducted by Michael Berkowitz.)

Get Happy! Joan Ellison Sings Judy Garland

Judy Garland in an MGM still

Judy Garland in an MGM still