Judy Garland Musical CHASING RAINBOWS Gets the OK from Liza Minnelli Following Industry Presentation
As BroadwayWorld reported last week, Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz, a new Broadway-bound musical about the early life of Judy Garland, from her vaudeville sister act through her rise at MGM to win the role of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, just had an industry presentation in New York City. The musical has reportedly earned the approval of one very important guest, Liza Minnelli. She told Deadline:
"My mother said that her biography is in her music, and now a talented creative team is using that music to tell the story of her early years and her extraordinary rise to fame. I'm grateful and happy they're telling the fascinating story of her early history."
Using the Sony Music/Feist Robbins catalog, Chasing Rainbows brings contemporary life to songs introduced by or associated with Garland, including "Over the Rainbow," "You Made Me Love You," "Everybody Sing," "In Between," and "Dear Mr. Gable," among others.
Chasing Rainbows is the first stage, film or television property about the life of Judy Garland to receive the endorsement of the Garland Estate.
The show has a book by Marc Acito (Allegiance), with musical adaptation by David Libby (Play It Cool), and music direction by Larry Yurman (War Paint). Tony Award nominee Denis Jones (Holiday Inn, Tootsie), will direct.
The production was conceived and created by actor, director and teacher Tina Marie Casamento. Garland historian John Fricke, author of The Wizard of Oz: An Illustrated Companion to the Timeless Classic, is a consultant on the project.
Heading the cast was Ruby Rakos (Billy Elliot) as Frances Gumm/Judy Garland. Rakos played the role in developmental productions at North Carolina's Flat Rock Playhouse and Connecticut's Goodspeed Musicals.
The other principal roles were played by Andrew Keenan-Bolger (Newsies) as Mickey Rooney, Daniel Reichard (Jersey Boys) as Frank Gumm, Sally Wilfert (Assassins) as Ethel Gumm, Karen Mason (Mamma Mia!) as Kay Koverman, Michael McCormick (Hello, Dolly!) as L.B. Mayer, Colin Hanlon (Falsettos) as Roger Edens, Samantha Joy Pearlman (Summer in the City) as Mary Jane Gumm, Andrea Laxton (Ghost) as Virginia Gumm, Violet Tinnirello ("America's Got Talent") as Shirley Temple, Sophie Knapp (Les Miserables) as Baby Frances Gumm, and Christina Maxwell (New York Music Festival's Sonata 1962) as Edna Mae Durbin.
The cast for the presentation also included John Battagliese (Grumpy Old Men), Mackenzie Bell (Summer: The Donna Summer Musical), Curtis Holland (Mean Girls), Ben Laxton (The Book of Mormon), Kevin McGlynn (Kiss Me, Kate), Shina Morris (Tootsie), Jonalyn Saxer (Mean Girls), and Jesse Sharp (The Addams Family).