Jessica Vosk Headlines Judy Garland Celebration at Carnegie Hall
Forget your troubles! Carnegie Hall will present Get Happy: A Judy Garland Centennial Celebration featuring Broadway alum Jessica Vosk alongside Andy Karl on December 12 at 8PM. Written by Robert Cary and Jonathan Tolins and directed by Michael Arden with music director Mary-Mitchell Campbell, Get Happy celebrates the life and artistry of the legendary Judy Garland, who made her own Carnegie Hall debut on April 23, 1961.
“Garland’s Carnegie Hall debut on April 23, 1961 has become one of the most storied evenings in the Hall’s history, with the live recording made that night going on to win five Grammy Awards, making Garland the first solo woman to win the coveted Album of the Year.
On the heels of her sold-out Carnegie Hall concert last season, Jessica Vosk brings Garland’s unforgettable songbook back to life at the Hall, accompanied by an orchestra alongside rare performance footage of Garland herself in this one-night-only celebration of an artist whose legacy continues to inspire fans around the world. Vosk’s frequent collaborator, Zac Posen, will be designing original looks for the concert, as an homage to Judy.
Judy Garland had been in show business for almost 40 years when she finally made her Carnegie Hall debut, an evening that attracted an audience including showbiz royalty Richard Burton and Marilyn Monroe. Toward the end of the program, Garland brought out her three children: Liza Minnelli, and Lorna and Joey Luft. The live album-Judy at Carnegie Hall-released a few months after the concert, spent 73 weeks on the Billboard charts.
In a recent interview about the project, Vosk offered, “Judy had this thing where she made everybody in the audience feel like she had them in her living room. That’s what I’m trying to do with this particular performance-give the impression of being at a Judy Garland show without taking anything away from the boss on screen behind me … Innovators like Judy Garland are why we artists feel like we can push boundaries today. Without them, we wouldn’t be here.”
“It was coming up on Judy’s 100th birthday and made me think, Wow. We lost this woman so early in her life, and yet she’s been ever present since then. Like she never left us,” says Vosk of Garland who passed away eight years after her Carnegie Hall concert when she was 47. “How do I honor the memory of this icon, who famously played Carnegie hall before her death, yet hopefully breathe new life into her cannon of music? I love a tricky task like that.”
“Audiences shouldn’t come expecting an impersonation. “It’s not that kind of campy thing,” she says. “It’s the beautiful story of this powerhouse performer and businesswoman,” with nods to Garland’s singular style. “I’m using a corded microphone like she did. That was a Judy staple. Also, she was very well-known for her vowels and her vocal placement. So I’m trying to bring some of that into the piece. Truth be told, her songs are difficult. But they’re also badass to do live. Judy had this thing where she made everybody in the audience feel like she had them in her living room. That’s what I’m trying to do with this particular performance—give the impression of being at a Judy Garland show without taking anything away from the boss on screen behind me.””
“As a host, Ms. Vosk was both lighthearted, full of clever quips, and reverent…The encore was “Smile” — first Ms. Vosk, then Garland in vintage 1964 footage, and then the two of them together, with Ms. Vosk singing in harmony. It was quite a “Smile,” and, needless to say, we already were.”
New York Sun
“Vosk held the audience firmly in her grasp as she paid homage to the adored diva…Rather than imitate, Vosk made Garland’s music entirely her own.”