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Jim as Judy GarlandBroadway to Welcome Judy Garland
- By Randy Gener (taken from Broadwayonline.com)

NEW YORK- If the planets align correctly and the Broadway gods beam their benevolent smiles, illusionist Jim Bailey's celebrated portrayal of Judy Garland will make its Broadway debut.

     "Fifty years ago [on Oct. 16, 1951], Judy opened on Broadway, "Stephen Campbell, Bailey's representative told BroadwayOnline.com June 18. "We are currently working to open Jim's show on Broadway at that date. The Shubert Organization has promised us a house. And if everything works out, it'll be quite a coup."

      As an illusionist, Jim Bailey has practiced his witchcraft on such chanteuses as Peggy Lee, Barbra Streisand and Phyllis Diller in various cities across the country, including Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New York. His illusions of famous singing divas have received acclaim for their tasteful and classy recreations, but his most requested portrayal is Judy Garland. Some critics have favorably compared Bailey's Garland to such notable solo recreations as Hal Holbrook's Mark Twain, Julie Harris' Emily Dickinson and Robert Morse's Truman Capote.

     Bailey has become famous for his eerily correct renditions of "The Man That Got Away," "San Francisco," "Chicago," "Zing! Went the Strings Of My Heart," "Over The Rainbow" and "Old Man River" - - performing them quite uncannily right down to the patter, stammer and dither.

     Bailey's Broadway show, Judy Garland Live!, is an all-new solo creation that will run for a six-week limited engagement. According to Campbell, the stage show will encompass "a little vaudeville, a little MGM, Garland's RKO Palace show, her Carnegie Hall performance and her TV work." Helming a 16-piece orchestra, Garland's original musical director Mort Lindsey will be the show's music supervisor.

     Produced by Jennifer M. Sanchez (Suburb), Judy Garland Live! is a celebration of Garland's music. "It will be a tribute," Sanchez said. "It will offer insights to her life, but it's going to be more of a concert theatrical tribute. The most important thing to Judy Garland when she was alive was performing. So we'd like to bring that to the show."

     Bailey has received the imprimatur of none other than Liza Minnelli herself. Bailey's Garland and Minnelli have performed as mother and daughter in several Las Vegas concerts.

     Various elements in Judy Garland Live!, however, are still in the early stages of development. For instance, the director for the Broadway show has not yet been hired. So it's not certain whether film archive material and slide projections from Garland's shows will be woven throughout the evening.

     Also, producer Sanchez is presently in negotiations with Gary Smith, the executive producer of the CBS telecast of the 2001 Tony Awards. Smith produced many of Garland's TV shows, and one of the potential scenarios that's being tossed around for the stage show is to see if Smith might want to produce a segment where Bailey, as Judy, will sing a duet onstage with Bailey, as Streisand, on a huge screen.

     "Judy Garland Live! hasn't been performed before, but it has been modified and adapted from different shows Jim has done in the past," Campbell said. "It's a complete retrospective of her performing life, And it's still in the works."

Copyright 2005 Jim Bailey. All rights reserved.