Renee Zellweger as Judy in the film of the same name
Rosalyn Wilder with Jessie Buckley who plays Rosalyn in the new film Judy
Judy Garland: The Final Rainbow is the title of Archive On 4’s programme tomorrow evening on BBC Radio 4 at 8pm. which will feature BMHS member Rosalyn Wilder who wrote two excellent articles on Robert Nesbitt and the Talk Of The Town for the Society’s magazine The Call Boy
Renée Zellweger introduces a programme exploring Judy Garland’s last concerts at London’s the Talk of The Town in 1969 – the subject of a new feature film.
Weaving together newly restored archive recordings and eye-witness accounts, we separate the woman from the myth, examine her exceptional talent, exploitation and troubled relationship with Hollywood.
Judy Garland was one of the 20th century’s greatest entertainers. A living legend. But in late December 1968, embattled and in poor health, she arrived in London for a five week run at the Talk of The Town in Leicester Square, for £2,500 a week. London was her place of sanctuary, she had performed spectacular comeback concerts in the city in 1951, 1957, 1960 and 1964.
When Renée Zellweger was preparing to play Judy in a new biopic, directed by Rupert Goold, little-heard archive concert recordings and first hand accounts were key to understanding the singer’s state of mind during those final performances. Judy Garland died of an accidental overdose in her Chelsea home six months later, aged 47.
Rosalyn Wilder was the young production assistant tasked with getting Judy on stage each night at the Talk of The Town. Looking back now, Rosalyn describes the stress of that responsibility, but she is also deeply sympathetic – it was clear Judy’s personal life had spiralled out of control. Michael Hirst, the venue’s general manager, also remembers Garland’s 5 week engagement for its unpredictability.
For jazz pianist Dave Lee, now 93, his experiences working with Judy couldn’t be more different. Starting in 1960, he worked with her over a six year period. The Judy Garland he encountered was bouncy, happy and fun – but with an incredible talent for picking the wrong men.
We also hear from Judy director Rupert Goold, New York composer Johnny Meyer who gave Garland shelter in the summer of 1968, film critic David Benedict, and audio engineer John Haley who has restored many rare Judy Garland recordings.
The George Edwardes Musical Comedy Society is presenting Miss Hook Of Holland at Westminster Reference Library on Wednesday 23rd October at 2.00pm
The BMHS Members’ Music Hall show, originally scheduled for Tuesday 5th November at the Club For Acts And Actors, has been cancelled. Sadly, the CAA will be closed in November due to ongoing work at the club and no other suitable venue was available.
The British Music Hall Society wish to express their thanks to Peter Charlton for all the work he had put into organising this event.
This November sees a special 125/21 years Anniversary weekend for the MAX MILLER APPRECIATION SOCIETY in Brighton – That’s 125 years since Max was born, and it’s the 21st MMAS Annual Dinner and Cabaret.
Members and non-members welcome. Visit one or both days – Please check out the youtube video at
A play about music hall star Nelly Power will be staged at the Old Red Lion in Islington on Sunday 29th September 2019 at 8pm:
Meet Nelly Power, local Islington lass and huge star of the Victorian Music Hall. Principal Boy, Male Impersonator, Burlesque Act, she did it all and did it all well.
She was adored by an army of fans, owned 2 houses and had a jewellery collection worth some £175,000 in today’s money.
In 1882 she departed from her usual style to sing “The Boy I Love is Up in the Gallery”, a romantic ballad written by her agent, George Ware that was a huge hit.
In 1885 up and coming teenager Miss Marie Lloyd took the song and made it her own, propelling herself to international superstardom. Her agent was also George Ware.
In early 1887 Nelly died in relative poverty. There were 4,000 people at her funeral but there was not enough money left to pay for it.
In 1922 between 40-50,000 people lined the streets for the funeral of Marie Lloyd
Whilst the suffragists are outside the theatre, in an era where women had little power and independence, Nelly tells the tale of the Victorian Melodrama that was her life with humour, song and a little touch of bitterness!
Fresh from success and 4 Star reviews at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Blue Fire Theatre Co. are thrilled to be bringing Nelly home to Islington and especially pleased to be at the Old Red Lion the sort of venue Nelly would recognise all too well.
For more information and booking details:
Michael Wooldridge has played in the United Kingdom, Holland, Germany, Switzerland and Australia and has played regularly at Old Windsor since 1979. He has also produced variety show tours and summer seasons. The organ is the Compton ex ABC/Regal, Old Kent Road, London, installed in Old Windsor in 1969.
By public transport, the number 8 bus from Slough Bus Station (next to the rail station) at 1.27pm stops outside the venue. Buses return at 3 minutes past the hour. There is a Toby carvery opposite the venue.