JUDY SPEAKS – Judy Garland Lives Again In Mary Birdsong’s Solo Show! This acclaimed one-woman show features many classic Garland hits sung by Mary Birdsong. TimeOut NY called it a “must-see!”
Click here to see reviews of Judy Speaks!
Last seen in New York City at the Ars Nova Theatre.
With her career, her health and her social life going down the tubes, an embattled Judy Garland makes a last-chance comeback in the early 1960s and privately records her thoughts on a reel-to-reel tape recorder. After years of red tape these dark but humorous recordings have gone public & Mary Birdsong brings them to life on stage.
This first clip is from the production at Ars Nova Theater in NYC, directed by Gregory Wolfe. Judy is onstage talking to her studio audience at a taping of the last episode of her CBS TV series. This clip features the rarely heard tune “Maybe I’ll Come Back.”
This second clip is from the same production of Judy Speaks at Ars Nova Theater. In this scene, Judy has just finished her final episode of the Judy Garland Show (a series she did for CBS). Very broke, and fighting many lawsuits as well as threats from the IRS, Judy puts all her hope of financial solvency into writing her auto-biography. She begins by recording her memoirs into a reel-to-reel tape recorder in her bedroom. All alone.
This next clip is from the original workshop of Judy Speaks at PSNBC in NYC, which was then titled Judy Speaks: Gumm’s Last Tape. Directed by Julie Kramer, this incarnation of Judy Speaks was a bit more fanciful, and less “slice of life” than the version that followed– incorporating puppets, disembodied “white gloved” hands, and even an old General Electric jingle called “Live Better Electrically!” Here is an audio recording of that song, which starts out with Ronald Reagan introducing Judy’s tv special (which was sponsored by General Electric), followed by the video clip of a live performance.
It wowed audiences at the HBO COMEDY FESTIVAL in Aspen, CO (directed by Julie Kramer), then found a home for Judy in New York City at the Ars Nova Theatre under the direction of downtown visionary GregoryWolf of Moonwork fame. Judy Speaks was also produced by Playhouse Merced in CA, at the HBO Aspen Comedy Festival, and at the HBO Workspace in L.A. This 90 minute one woman show features spectacular jazz arrangements by Daniel Levy.
Mary getting into character before her performance of “Judy Speaks!” at the HBO Aspen Comedy Festival in Feb/March 2002. The Hollywood Reporter named Mary one of their “Top Ten Talents On the Rise” at a special ceremony during the festival that year.
Mary’s made many appearances as Judy Garland in other shows. The TWEED Theatre Co.’s “SCREEN DOOR” benefit for God’s Love We Deliver at Town Hall in NYC, Jackie Hoffman’s holiday extravaganza “JACKIE’S KOSHER XMAS” and the DRAMA DEPT.’s CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR have all contributed to the BIRDSONG buzz. Past performances have always sold out with little to no publicity. Mary also played Judy in her first Broadway musical– “Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me.”
Originally directed by and co-created with the fabulous Julie Kramer. All photos on this page (with the exception of Mary at Aspen Comedy Festival) by the fabulous photographer & graphic designer David Kniazuk.
Want to own your own copy of “Judy Speaks” on DVD?It’s being offered for sale exclusively on Ebay!
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Mary Birdsong c/o The Asteri Group, 225 West 34th Street, Suite 2000, New York, NY 10122.