Start spreading the news ‘Judy and Liza’ are fabulous!

 

Left to right, Alexa Castelvecchi and Nancy Hays star in Judy & Liza. (Photo by Tyler Core)
Left to right, Alexa Castelvecchi and Nancy Hays star in Judy & Liza. (Photo by Tyler Core)

4 stars

Imagine what it was like in 1964 when Judy Garland and her daughter, 18-year-old Liza Minnelli, performed together for the first time at The Palladium Theatre in London. This was the only time these two superstars performed in a live concert together and it was electrifying.

Now, Chicago theatre-goers can experience the thrill of “Judy & Liza — Once in a Lifetime: The London Palladium Concert – A Tribute” at the Greenhouse Theater Center. The show is co-produced by Greenhouse and Nancy Hays Entertainment, Inc.

Thanks to the success of “Judy” and an Oscar win by Renee Zellweger, there is renewed interest in the life of Judy Garland. But instead of the darkness, this musical celebrates Judy’s rare brand of story-telling ballads and showstopping hits.

It’s not often that audiences get to see a show that mirrors two show business legends. These two actresses are sensational, and their performances will leave you breathless.

Nancy Hays as Judy Garland and Alexa Castelvecchi as Liza Minnelli, capture the magical star power of the two legends in this raw, emotional show.

They sing solo as well as together, though without question, Judy has earned and deserves top billing.

Their back and forth banter is a loving testament to the mother-daughter  relationship and a fitting tribute to Garland who died much too soon.

Songs such as “The Man That Got Away,” “Gypsy in My Soul,” and “Over the Rainbow,” are accompanied by favorite duets, “Chicago,” and “Get Happy/Happy Days.”

It’s all backed by a jazz-trio led by music director/pianist Robert Ollis, a Jefferson Award winner.

Hays was last seen in the title role of “Mame at Music Theater Works in Evanston. No stranger to Judy Garland, Hays also portrayed her in “The Boy From Oz.”

Castelvecchi most recently starred in Hell in a Handbag’s “Facts of Life” musical parody called “Satan’s School for Girls” where she played the sitcom’s favorite tomboy, Jo. She also played Liza Minnelli in the “Rip Nelson Holiday Spectacular at Hell in a Handbag.

The show has been expanded since its original run in Chicago and New York City with new dialogue and additional songs. Background information on the performers and a gallery of photos can be found at JudyLizaTribute.

DETAILS: “Judy & Liza” is  at the Greenhouse Theatre, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, through April 5, 2020. Running time: 95 minutes with one intermission. For tickets and other information, call 773-404-7336 or visit GreenhouseTheater/Judyand Liza.

Mira Temkin

For more shows visit Theatre in Chicago.

 

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