Monday, July 2, 2012

QUICK TAKE REVIEW Shout Hallelujah! By Beverly Creasey

Hooray for Hollywood! Kathy St. George is doing Judy Garland again. This isn’t the “poor Judy” show you may have heard about. This is the joyous one. This is the show with the spectacular ten minute WIZARD OF OZ reduction. I laughed so hard that tears spilled down my face. Once is not enough for this mini- romp. I have to see it again.

DEAR MISS GARLAND (playing at Stoneham Theatre through July 22nd) is St. George’s love letter to her idol (co-written and directed by Scott Edmiston). Act I traces Garland’s early years in vaudeville and films and Act II places St. George on a stool in front of an orchestra led by consummate music director Jim Rice. They’re tight. She’s where she belongs.

How often do you get to hear those glorious songs the way you could back in the day, with a full orchestra? Yes, she sounds like Garland and she sure looks like Garland when she tilts her head back or curls inward before she expands her arms and voice in triumph---but St. George captures the emotion. That’s what makes the show work. St. George has the pipes and the savvy to make “The Man That Got Away” break your heart in two. That’s what unites her and Garland, that ability to make you feel every lyric, as if “Over the Rainbow” had been written just for you.