entertainment

Gay icon Judy Garland's story returns to the West End

2017-04-11
The musical play Judy! makes its West End debut in May. Charting the turbulent life of acclaimed superstar Judy Garland, the play cleverly depicts three pivotal moments in the star’s prolific and tragically short life. Interestingly, this production also has not one, but three Judy Garlands appearing on stage at the same time. Judy has been an icon of the silver screen since before she stepped onto that yellow brick road; but has also become a true gay icon, prior to and ever more so since her death in 1969. We asked a collection of Judy super-fans for their views on Garland’s enduring and sustained position as a gay icon. Brett, a student, 22 says: “I don’t think I even remember learning 'Over the Rainbow', I was born just knowing it. But it was only as I got older, did I realise what an affect that song, and Judy’s life, had on me.”   Tino, an actor, 46, adds: “She spoke to the gay community as much through her tremendous ability to survive as her vulnerability.” Bruce, a management consultant, 38, says: “Judy was beaten up by life, but she had her own way of handling that, and much of it was through laughing at her troubles. That’s what makes her so interesting.” Ian, retired, 70 adds: “I saw Judy at Talk of the Town in one of her last engagements in London. All I remember was an incredibly feeling of sadness.” Brett continues: “Judy ignited a passion in gay men in a way no other entertainer has. She encouraged us all to know who we are. I believe the rainbow pride flag wouldn’t look the way it does if she hadn’t gone over than rainbow.” Judy! opens on May 16 and runs until June 17 at London's Arts Theatre. Tickets from £25 at tickets.attitude.co.uk. More stories: ‘Cucumber’ creator Russell T Davies reveals why he thinks the show lost so many viewers Kylie Minogue refused to cut gay kisses from ‘All the Lovers’ music video, director reveals