Do you have idols and have you ever met them in real life? I have a few people that I look up to and that mean a lot to me in my life. I have been lucky enough to see and meet Lorna Luft. The daughter of Judy Garland and the sister of Liza Minnelli, my other idols, a couple of times. Once when she was in a show with Dave Willetts and again in a show with Wayne Sleep.
I was actually working backstage at the Grimsby Auditorium for the ‘Magic of the Musicals’ tour and so I had the pleasure of not only meeting and looking after Lorna but also her children.
The last time I saw Lorna was in the tour ‘The Songbook of Judy Garland’ and one of the nearest shows to me was at the Lyceum Theatre in Sheffield. As I was working it had to be a Saturday so booked tickets for the theatre and the train.
A couple of weeks before the show it was announced that Lorna Luft had discovered that her cancer has returned and would cancel shows, after 11th July, to fly back to America for extensive treatment and surgery.
This made seeing Lorna, even more special and even more emotional.
The Lyceum is a beautiful theatre both inside and out. There is a statue on top of the Lyceum Theatre of Mercury and the inside of the theatre is also beautiful.
The opening staging for ‘The Songbook of Judy Garland’ looked amazing. The word ‘Judy’ and Judy Garland’s photograph set the scene.
All the costumes, throughout the show, were red and black. The band, and Lorna’s husband, musical director and pianist Colin Freeman, were on the stage all the time. The background showed a video of a lot of Judy’s shows, and songs. The props were kept to a minimum and mostly chairs and ladders used in the songs and dances.
Everybody was one hundred percent perfect in the expert choreography, under the direction of Arlene Philips. Ray Quinn was perfect as a gentleman of the musicals from the 50’s and 60’s and everybody in the cast worked hard and produced a top class entertainment show.
Lorna was introduced with the ‘Lorna’ song and spoke about her mother with love and affection. All the songs that Lorna sang were emotional but the ending, who was given to Judy Garland, had even the hardened person have a tear in their eye. I am not a hardened person and the sobbing heard at the end was probably from me!! The show received a deserved standing ovation and the love given to Lorna could be felt radiating around the theatre.
Take a look at ‘The Songbook of Judy Garland’ website and hopefully when Lorna will bring this show back on tour and I can guarantee I will be at the front of the queue. Any thing that keeps Judy’s memory alive!
Sparkle Hugs and Glitter Kisses xxx
All photographs, unless stated, are copyright of Lorna Liza