Rufus Wainwright Channels Judy Garland Once More to Celebrate Her 99th Birthday

Monday May 3, 2021

Rufus Wainwright Channels Judy Garland Once More to Celebrate Her 99th Birthday
  (Source: rufuswainwright.veeps.com/stream/schedule)

Two-time Grammy Award-nominated singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright has announced plans for another landmark virtual concert event. "Rufus Does Judy at Capitol Studios" will see Wainwright performing his groundbreaking 2007 tribute to Judy Garland in its entirety, live from Los Angeles' famed Capitol Studios.

The event will premiere at 8 p.m. (AEDT/EST/CET) on Thursday, June 10, celebrating what would have been Garland's 99th birthday. Tickets for the event are available now exclusively via Veeps priced at $30 (in advance) and $35 (day of show).

There will also be ticket bundles available with the opportunity for fans to participate in an intimate Q&A with Wainwright priced at $60 (in advance) and $65 (day of show).

For more information, follow this link.

Rufus Wainwright and Renée Zellweger  (Source: Sean James)

"Rufus Does Judy at Capitol Studios" will see Wainwright backed by a four-piece band in front of a micro-audience comprised of two-time Academy Award-winning actress Renée Zellweger, winner of last year's "Best Actress" Oscar for her spectacular performance as Garland in 2019's "Judy." In addition, Wainwright will be joined musically by award-winning stage and screen star, Concord recording artist, Kristin Chenoweth in person and his sister Martha Wainwright virtually from Montreal.

"Rufus Does Judy at Capitol Studios" — which marks a rare complete performance of Wainwright's now legendary homage to 1961's Judy Garland at Carnegie Hall — showcases more than 25 American standards spanning swing, jazz, and pop, including three songs by George and Ira Gershwin, two Rodgers and Hart classics, two from Howard Dietz and Arthur Schwartz, plus favorites by Harold Arlen, Yip Harburg, Irving Berlin, Noël Coward, and more. Among the highlights are such Garland signature songs as "The Man That Got Away," "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart," "Swanee," and of course, "Over the Rainbow," along with a special bonus rendition of "Get Happy," which was not performed by Garland at the original 1961 concert.

"The American Songbook and Judy Garland's famed 1961 Carnegie Hall concert gave me a lot of hope after 9/11 and led to the idea for my first song by song recreation of that show at the same venue. It felt fitting to do the entire set again as the dazzling finale of my Rufus-Retro-Wainwright-Spective and hopefully the beginning of the finale of this global pandemic. Once again, these songs revealed their healing power. To be able to sing them in front of Renée, to sing with Kristin Chenoweth and still have my sister Martha be part of these shows was particularly meaningful although to sing them into the very microphone that Judy used for her recordings at Capitol Studios was the most mind-blowing," says Wainwright.

"I've been wanting my moment with Rufus for forever. It's finally happening!" says Chenoweth.

"I am still awed by Rufus' voice just as I was 22 years ago in a friend's living room where I heard him perform for the first time," says Zellweger. "Witnessing Rufus do the entire Judy Garland Carnegie Hall show was the most special day, and I loved sharing the time."

The performance marks the first complete performance of Wainwright's tribute in five years and will be commemorated with a limited edition T-shirt created for the occasion in partnership with Wainwright's longtime friend, legendary designer Michael Kors. The T-shirts will be available via Rufus' merch store and in Michael Kors Collection stores nationwide, with all proceeds benefiting LGBTQ human rights organization OutRight Action International through June — Pride Month 2021 — or while supplies last. The T-shirt marks the latest collaboration between Kors and Wainwright, who earlier this month performed music for the blockbuster launch of Kors' 40th anniversary collection for fall/winter 2021.

Wainwright's sixth full length release and first live album, "Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall" was recorded and produced by Phil Ramone over two sold out nights at Carnegie Hall, backed by a full 36-piece orchestra and special guest appearances from his sister Martha, his mother Kate McGarrigle, and Garland's daughter, Lorna Luft. The album proved an immediate cultural success, feted by worldwide media attention and critical acclaim while earning Wainwright his first-ever Grammy Award nomination (for "Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album").

Due to popular demand, Wainwright recreated his momentous tribute to Garland with sold out, star-studded performances at such renowned venues as Paris' L'Olympia, Los Angeles' Hollywood Bowl, and the London Palladium, the latter of which was filmed and released on DVD as "Rufus! Rufus! Rufus! Does Judy! Judy! Judy!: Live from the London Palladium."

Wainwright recently wrapped up the 2021 leg of A Rufus-Retro-Wainwright-Spective!, an ambitious virtual live series that saw him revisiting his groundbreaking studio albums in their entirety, with one album side performed for each date, including rarely played deep cuts, stunning new arrangements, and a bonus selection of signature cover songs chosen by fans around the world. The series — which included accompaniment from guitarist Brian Green and keyboardist/pianist Jacob Mann, as well as exclusive fireside chats and a nightly micro-audience comprised of such celebrity friends and fans as Paul Rudd, Zach Galifianakis, Jamie Lee Curtis, James Corden and Darren Criss — culminated last month with performances of last year's Grammy Award-nominated "Unfollow The Rules" as well as two nights of career-spanning Rarities (originally collected in 2011's epic box set, "House of Rufus"). A number of recent concerts are available to rewatch through Saturday, May 1 — for tickets and complete information, please visit rufuswainwright.veeps.com/stream/schedule.