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Paulanne Simmons

Lorna Luft and Susan Stroman Join Scott Siegel in Tribute to Judy Garland and Movie Dance
Lorna Luft album cover

A Tribute to Judy Garland and The Art of American Movie Dance
The Town Hall
123 West43 Street
Oct. 28, 2011 at 8pm
Tickets: $55, $50, $45 (800) 982-2787 or www.ticketmaster.com also (212) 840-2824

Town Hall's Seventh Annual Broadway Cabaret Festival concludes with "A Tribute to Judy Garland and The Art of American Movie Dance" hosted by Scott Siegel with Lorna Luft and Susan Stroman. Siegel, who is also responsible for putting the show together, says that Stroman is a particularly appropriate host because she is not only a "brilliant Broadway choreographer" but also the director of the film version of the musical, "The Producers." And, of course, who better to discuss the great Garland than one of her daughters?

In the first half of the program, Noah Racey ("Curtains," "Never Gonna Dance"), Nancy Lemenager ("Never Gonna Dance," "Movin' Out"), Jeffry Denman, who was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for the role of Artie in "Yank!" and Meredith Paterson, who will be reprising her role of Judy Haynes in Paper Mill Playhouse's "White Christmas" this season, will interpret dance numbers from films, beginning with the talkies up to contemporary times.

Siegel believes this tribute will demonstrate the close relationship between music and film, which began with "The Jazz Singer," in 1927, was further developed in "The Broadway Melody," the first film incorporating dance, two years later and later came to full fruition with the famed MGM musicals.

"The first silent film comedies by Keaton and Chaplin were physical and choreographed," says Siegel. "From there it was just a small step to actual dancing."

The show will feature numbers associated with such performers as George M. Cohan, Jimmy Cagney, Gene Kelly and Judy Garland, and Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. For instance Noah Racey will dance Pick Yourself Up from "Swing Time." Jeffry Denman will perform Give My Regards to Broadway. And Noah Racey will interpret the Ray Bolger favorite, Once in Love with Amy from "Where's Charley?"

There will also be dance numbers made famous by Cyd Charisse, Ann Miller and Ruby Keeler.

If Judy Garland is best known as a singer, she was certainly a triple threat who sang, danced and acted her way through many an MGM film. In this tribute, Elizabeth Stanley, the female star in "Million Dollar Quartet" and Carole J. Bufford, who stopped the show in Town Hall's "All Sining! All Dancing!" and was featured in "11 O'clock Numbers at 11 O'clock" at Feinstein's at the Regency, will sing "songs we know and love," says Siegel.

Lorna Luft, who will soon be in rehearsal for the role of Martha Watson in Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" at Paper Mill Playhouse, will provide commentary. For the past eleven years, Luft has been performing her own tribute to her mother, "Songs My Mother Taught Me" in which she depicts her mother as vibrant and funny, and certainly not the tragic figure of legend.

Cyd Charisse once said, "I think that in all my dancing I play a role. To me that's what dancing is about. It's not just steps." No doubt, Charisse was speaking not only for herself but also for all dancers who understand the integrity of their work, as well as Judy Garland herself ... in both song and dance.

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