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BWW Review: OVER THE RAINBOW - THE SONGS OF JUDY GARLAND at Open Stage Of Harrisburg

Welcome to the club; your table is waiting.

BWW Review: OVER THE RAINBOW - THE SONGS OF JUDY GARLAND  at Open Stage Of Harrisburg Hey, we see you. That ticket to the WIZARD OF OZ singalong. That flying monkeys T-shirt. You with the porcelain collector edition Ruby Slippers. And you - the one who still says Friends of Dorothy. And you - the one with the complete soundtrack to the 1954 A STAR IS BORN, we see you too. Oh, the clGreat American Songbook lover in the corner - we caught you, too, humming "I'll Get By.."

Yes, there's a Judy Garland festival at Open Stage of Harrisburg, OVER THE RAINBOW: The Songs of Judy Garland. It's in time for Pride month, should you be a friend of Dorothy's. It's a live show, in time for those of us sick and tired of not being able to go see a show. It's an intimate setting, if you're a cabaret fan. It's all the Great American Songbook you could want. It's not, however, It's directed by Open Stage's artistic director, Stuart Landon, and sung by Carly Lafferty, Rachel Landon, and Stacey Werner, with Open Stage musical director Nick Werner at the keyboard. Lafferty's youth provides the "Hey kids, let's put on a show!" energy of the Garland and Rooney films. Landon is the closest to Garland in looks and movement. And Stacey Werner is still the most reliable, full-throated belter around the area, who can sell a song like nobody else. She's also got Garland's range, with that comforting contralto depth that so many performers of Garland's songs can't reach.

If you're a cabaret or lounge act fan, there's nothing likely to be more fun than this any time this summer. You'll need to see this, and especially to hear it. The comfortable new bar at Open Stage only completes the setting. Garland herself, as well as these three singers, would feel right at home in this club.

While the hour-long revue is full of the expected - "I'll Get By," "Over the Rainbow." "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart" and the like, there are moments, and they are many, of musical glory. The ensemble "For Once in A Lifetime" and closing "Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries" stand out, but there are individual turns that truly stand out. Landon's "I Don't Care" and "The Man That Got Away," Lafferty's "I Wish I Were in Love Again," and Werner's "Come Rain or Come Shine" and "When You're Smiling" are a joy for any Garland or Great American Songbook fan.

Nick Werner's accompaniment is on the money, perfect cabaret sound for a small space with the right musical phrasing for each of the vocalists' deliveries. Because of the sheer musicality of Garland's songs and arrangements, musicians were often the unnoticed stars of her concerts, and this is no exception. Through June 25.


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From This Author Marakay Rogers