- Westbury, NY -
June 13, 1967 -
Takes L.I. Fair's Audience by Storm
By Robert Sobel - Billboard
Wherever Judy Garland performs
she transforms the stage into a land of make-believe. Her presence, even
before she delivers one note, sweeps the audience into near hysteria.
Miss Garland appeared at
the Westbury Music Fair before a capacity audience of both teenagers and
adults for the week ending last Sunday - (18). The fair, with it's stage-in-the-round
is deal for the peripatetic Miss Garland. It gives the patrons a personal,
informal view and affords the performer the opportunity to be as unpredictable
For 40 minutes, standing,
sitting or sprawling on the stage she sings, ad libs and mumbles -- all
to the audience's fascination and delight. Her dancing draws wild applause,
her lapses of memory on lyrics set off wild cheering and her hoarseness
brings bursts of both. But even hoarse, Miss Garland gives a song more
meaning, more vitality than many a healthy performer.
She sang mostly those songs
associated with her. These included 'That's Entertainment,' 'San Francisco,'
'Trolley Song' and 'Just in Time.' She sang 'Old Man River' and 'Swanee'
with the voice of old, putting her left hand on her hip, looking up and
letting go on the last few chords. Her closing of course, was 'Somewhere
Over the Rainbow.' Preceding her were comedian Rip Taylor and veteran dancer
John Bubbles. The package moves to the Camden Music Fair for one week beginning
on July 10.
A Real Pro
"We Love You, Judy!"
by Sam Hoffman
They may have to get a new
tent to replace the brand new one they have now at Storrowton Theatre if
Judy Garland continues her week stint here in the same manner as her opening
night last night.
Never in the nine years of
theater-in-the-round on the West Side, or in our recollection, anywhere,
has a performer--any performer--received an audience's complete surrender
as was witnessed last night. Miss Garland captivated some 1500 patrons
with a program of songs billed "An Evening with Judy Garland" and their
response was standing ovations by the armful. The spontaneous reaction
was deserved by Miss Garland as she gave them what they wanted--a Judy
Garland of old, one who sang with everything at her command.
They yelled and cheered the
slightly built gal who for the present is living up to her star billing
as one of the all-time greats.
Miss Garland's entrance down
the middle aisle to the strains of "Over the Rainbow" started the wildly
enthusiastic applause which turned into the first of many standing ovations.
There was little doubt that the one-time child star who rose to such astronomical
heights in her field would make it an unforgettable evening.
Miss Garland immediately
disproved any thought that she might not have the stuff to sing. Non-believers
had to believe as she broke into "I Feel a Song Coming On," and followed
it with "It's Almost Like Being in Love" and "This Can't Be Love." Miss
Garland is all professional. The stage was her home, the audience her family
and she poured it on with one song after the other. It was a pretty even
bet who was more tired at the end--Miss Garland from singing or the audience
from getting up and down to applaud.
She has a knack of slugging
an audience right where they want to be hit. If there is a happy bone,
Miss Garland knew just where it was with such memorable songs as "Just
in Time", "You Made Me Love You", "The Trolley Song" and "That's Entertainment."
And, if that wasn't enough
to satisfy, she did "Old Man River" like it had never been done before;
had everyone moving with "Rock-a-Bye" and "A Pretty Girl is LIke a Melody"
(sic); and gave new life to "San Francisco."
As a clincher, something
Miss Garland did not require, she did "Over the Rainbow," adding a special
kind of color to this old song that identifies the star. The final ovation
lasted a good 10 minutes with many yelling "We love you, Judy.!"
For a brief respite, Miss
Garland called her teenage daughter, Lorna Luft, on stage to sing. She
did a lovely job with "Mother," a parody on the popular songs, "Alfie."
Next came 11-year-old Joey Luft to play the drums and the three wound up
How can one explain Judy
Garland's tremendous showing? Was it strictly a nostalgic yearning that
brought the crowd out? Then how does one explain a very large attendance
of young people? They certainly can't remember Judy as we older folks do.
Whatever it is, Miss Garland
has a certain magic on stage--a real PRO--that marks her a living legend
in show business. "An Evening with Judy Garland" is truly an entertainment
experience and one that should not be missed by anyone.
The program opened with the
wit of Rip Taylor, a crying comedian who can beam in on an audience's funny
bone, and John Bubbles, a song and dance man with more pep than performers
half his age.
By Radie Harris - Hollywood
Judy Garland opened here
last night in the first engagement of a three-week tour through the east,
to a capacity audience of 2700 who greeted her with enthusiastic cheers
and stayed to give her a standing ovation. Her daughter, Liza Minnelli,
joined her for a time on stage to the obvious delight of the SRO crowd.
Miss Garland was slim and trim in a trousered suit as she belted out the
many favorites long associated with her, 'San Francisco,' et al. When she
sang a special duet version of 'Hello Dolly,' with the words amended to
'Hello Mama' and 'Hello Liza', with daughter Liza, when the younger singer
came to the words amended to 'you're back where you belong' the crowd went
Following this weeks engagement,
Judy has a similar stand at the Springfield, Mass., tent theatre, and following
that at the Camden, N. J. summer arena. After last night's show she announced
she would be married on Sept. 17 to Tom Green, who is currently acting
as her publicist on this tour.
Her appearance at Westbury
certainly gave the lie to critics who have said that she was not up to
the ardors of such performances.
She never looked or sang
Judy Garland at Westbury
By Jerry Tallmer - The
New York Post
Here it is in two words:
Judy is back in voice, if somewhat out of breath.
She opened last night for
a run through Sunday at the Westbury (L.I.) Music Fair and, speaking of
breath, a lot of people were holding theirs, praying. The first half of
the show is not Judy Garland but John Bubbles a grand old man, and Rip
Taylor, an audience blaming comedian.
Then in she came, starting
slow, kissing daughter Liza at ringside, working into a number or two,
trying to get an angry snake of a mike wire disentangled from her shoes
(she ultimately took them off), stopping to straighten out the key (to
the audience: 'I might as well let you in on the mistakes').
She now must weigh 90 pounds
wringing wet; has let her hair go unabashed gray; has the map of experience
etched still further in her face.
And then she did her third
number, 'Almost Like Being In Love.' Second chorus, she waited, leaned
back, hit it, socked it, let it ride. It was all there, it mounted, sailed.
There were those listening who were torn with shudders, with tears, but
mostly there were hundreds and hundreds on their feet, shouting--shouting
love--the place was in an uproar.
It was frequently in uproar,
for all the best numbers, 'San Francisco,' 'Old Man River,' 'Rockabye My
But suddenly, now and then,
she appeared to be running out of breath. At these moments she turned the
show into a family affair, pulling Liza Minnelli on stage to sing with
Mama, or sing alone, or sing with new husband Peter Allen (Liza's new husband,
that is); and while the on-lookers enjoyed it, the question is how will
the evening sustain itself if Liza and Peter aren't included.
Actually, the whole thing
had somewhat the air of an open rehearsal for anyone, with all the flubs
left in for laughs. If there were flubs, there were no few thrills. Judy
as is her custom, gave it her all--for about an hour.
Up there on stage and screen
she is one of the greatest talents of this lifetime, and her own lifetime
has seen her incredibly reborn again and again. I shall be holding my breath,
hoping she can use some of it, hoping for one more notch of the incredible.
But thinking, also, with the sweetness, of John Bubbles as he said last
night: 'Tellin' me I don't dance lak I used to. Huh! I don' do nothin'
lak I use to!'
Judy Garland Casts Spell
by Frances Taylor - Long
When Judy Garland walked
down the aisle to the stage of the Westbury Music Fair last night, the
entire audience was on its feet. Their salute to her filled the air with
electricity generated by love, admiration and the almost desperate wish
for her to continue past all obstacles of yesterday, today and tomorrow,
to continue to us to be the singer we love.
'Judy, we worship you!' shouted
one young man over and over again. 'We love you, Judy!' was heard from
all over the huge circular theater.
The bravos filled the air.
People wept and screamed. Some actually jumped up and down in excitement
as they showed their love for a Judy Garland now slim in a sequined, mod
pants suite, her hair somewhat gray and her spirit indomitable.
Celebrities by the dozens
were in the audience. But in the front row was Judy Garland's most loved
celebrity, her daughter, Liza Minnelli, young, vibrant, her dark hair cut
boyishly close and her voice a kind of echo of her mother's.
Dragged on stage by her mother,
Liza sang and received an ovation all her own. Liza's husband, Peter Allen,
who is half of a singing duo with her brother, Chris, also sang with Judy.
Judy belts out 'Rockabye
Your Baby' and she attacks the tear ducts with 'Over the Rainbow' from
her great film, 'The Wizard of Oz', and she sings medleys and original
material. She also changes the order of her program without much too much
disturbance for her orchestra conductor, Colin Romoff. He switches numbers
with controlled consternation.
Judy clowns and she sings
wistful tunes. She is always the Judy Garland who has overcome. For that,
audiences love her with a fervor this reviewer has never seen demonstrated
in a theater as it was at her opening last night.
In the audience was Bob White,
a University of Tennessee junior, who flew from his home in Greenville,
Tenn., to attend the opening. He will attend every performance this week,
having reserved his tickets in advance. 'I've seen her eight times,' said
Bob. 'I first heard her on TV and I've loved her ever since then. I know
my family won't approve of my being here and spending all this money, but
I had to come.'
Bob hadn't even unpacked.
He checked his luggage in the theater, late last night. The staff of the
Westbury Music Fair was trying to get him a nearby motel room so he can
walk to the Music Fair every night.
Bob wasn't the only out-of-towner
at the opening. All last week requests came from every eastern city. And
during the opening dozens of long distance calls were received for additional
tickets, once people were certain Judy was appearing.
The first half of the show
presents the inimitable John Bubbles. His wry humor and good-natured cynicism
are amusing and in good taste, his dancing is still great though he's been
alone for a decade since the death of her long-time partner, Buck. Rip
Taylor, a favorite TV comedian, delighted much of the audience. Taylor
has a genuine ability as a comic.... and low-level formula gags. But he
got his laughs.
The evening belongs to Judy
Garland, however, and triumph is a small word for her performance. See
her, if you can still get tickets. She'll be at the Westbury Music Fair
only this week, through Sunday.
The Old Garland Throb Still Thrills
By John S. Wilson - New
The audience that circled
the round, white stage of the Westbury Music Fair last evening came to
cheer Judy Garland, to adore her, to be overwhelmed by her.
At the first note of her
overture, they were on their feet, applauding wildly. They waited expectantly
while the orchestra went through a medley of her songs, raising new cheers
as they recognized each tune. And then finally, she came running down an
aisle, behind a flying wedge of burly young men and burst into the gleaming
light of the stage.
The anticipatory cheers turned
into a billowing ovation. She basked in it, a slight, slim figure in spangled
paisley jacket and pants, her short hair a comfortable charcoal gray. When
she picked up a hand microphone and burst into 'I Feel a Song Coming On,'
the applause rose in another immense wave.
Her voice was tight and husky
at first. But, as she went along, she seemed to shake it loose by the sheer
energy of her singing. She stayed safely within a modest range until she
reached the end of 'Almost Like Being In Love.' Then she reached back for
one of her old, familiar, belting climaxes--and she found it, all of it.
It came through in an electrifying burst of power that brought that eager
audience to it's feet once more. 'We Love you, Judy!' someone shouted.
'Oh, I do, too,' she called back, her eyes big round pools, her lips forming
the vowels with such sincerity --Dorothy in THE WIZARD OF OZ.
It was and evening of mutual
adulation. At her opening on Tuesday, when her throat ran dry, she called
on her daughter, Liza Minnelli, and Peter Allen, her son-in-law, to come
on stage and help out. But this was her second night and she made it alone,
all the way through a 40 minute stint, singing 'That's Entertainment,'
'Just in Time,' 'You Made Me Love You,' 'San Francisco,' and, of course,
'Over the Rainbow.'
Once or twice she was betrayed
by a glaring crack in her voice, but she passed it off with a laugh or
a shrug and kept on going. These slips always came in the low-keyed, opening
sections of her songs when the uncertainty of her voice was most apparent.
But when she opened up to belt out an ending, she never missed. The old
Garland zing was still there.
At the end, after she sang
'Over the Rainbow' sitting in a small, soft spotlight on the stage, reaching
out to the audience, it rose and cheered and clapped as though it would
never let her go. As the orchestra played 'Over the Rainbow' over and over
and over, some threw a single red rose and she managed to catch it.
She waved armfuls of kisses
and then made her way slowly around the perimeter of the stage, reaching
out to the audience, touching, shaking hands, even offering a kiss here
and there. Eventually the lights went up, Miss Garland escaped along her
aisle, the hubbub died down and the audience filed out.
'We saw her!' a girl cried
ecstatically to a group of friends. 'We really saw her. And I touched her!'
'You touched her!' exclaimed a young man. 'Are you kidding? I kissed her
Valley Steam, N.Y. 6/15/67
Judy Garland opened at the
Westbury Music Fair on June 13. She made a new fan here. She was great.
She was a beautiful woman
to watch. Her eyes sparkling more radiantly than her jeweled slack suit,
she dominated the stage for an hour, belting her songs out one after the
other, as though she would never tire. What special magic is it she's got?
I've been told that middle-aged people think of her as their Dorothy, their
untarnished symbol of happier, less complicated times... but that doesn't
explain the hold she had on the younger members of the audience, who were
No, I think it's something
else. I think Miss Garland represents for us the ability -- the audacity,
perhaps to survive.
Everything is against her
on that stage. She bumps into the chair. She misses cues, gets into jams
with the band so they can barely follow her. She forgets the words, changes
the program at will. She misplaces her glasses. She works to entice her
daughter, Liza Minnelli, to the stage for a song. She cons the unwilling
pianist into letting her son-in-law take over for a while. She asks the
audience for a mint, misses the catch, lets it drop to the floor. She complains
of her tight suit. Her false eyelashes give her trouble. The microphone
cord catches in her buckle, so she must kick off her shoes. She loses her
voice, calmly announces its departure. And she sings... and she survives...
and she triumphs.
Perhaps the magic lies in
her impudence in the face of catastrophes that would faze a lesser performer.
Perhaps it lies in her unreasoning defiance of her own larynx; you know--you
just know--that she cannot continue to abuse it so. And yet she does, and
what is more important, the notes come, and they are fine.
I read once that the special
pull of a play by Eugene O'Neill was the knowledge of the personal toll
his work took on him. Could it be that this is also true of Judy Garland?
That as you sit and watch, you become aware that each song, each note,
come from some deep reservoir inside from which she gives too freely, too
impulsively, caring not at all about the cost of such generosity?
Never mind. Better minds
than mine have groped for definitions of Judy Garland's magnetism. It's
some show at Westbury, and you'll have to see it to believe it. The cultists
will be there, by the way, as they were on opening night. Pay no attention
Be a fan, and you won't go