Metro Weekly

Rufus Wainwright commemorates Pride with a ‘Rufus Does Judy’ livestream

Kristen Chenoweth and Renée Zellweger join Wainwright for the special show, debuting June 10

rufus does judy, rufus wainwright
Rufus Wainwright and Renée Zellweger — Photo: Sean James

Rufus Wainwright commemorates Pride 2021 with “Rufus Does Judy,” once again singing in tribute to the modern era’s original gay diva, even offering a new take on her quintessential gay anthem, “Over The Rainbow.”

The gay troubadour returns to the Well of Judy by channeling the same source material as his most famous sonic sojourn down Garland’s yellow-brick road. Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall was an impressive song-for-song recreation of Garland’s Grammy-winning live album, which successfully served as her career comeback 60 years ago.

Although met with only modest commercial success, Wainwright’s 2007 effort was well-received by critics, and would go on to earn him his first Grammy nomination.

With Rufus Does Judy at Capitol Studios, Wainwright again performs from the Garland repertoire, only this time at one of L.A.’s most famed studios and solely as a livestream, set to premiere Thursday, June 10, on what would have been Garland’s 99th birthday.

The show is also a scaled-back affair, with a four-piece band — all donning facemasks emblazoned with Garland’s visage — replacing a sumptuous 36-piece orchestra.

Wainwright enlisted two very special guest stars: Kristen Chenoweth, who joins him on stage, and Renée Zellweger, an Oscar winner for her portrayal of Garland in 2019’s Judy, who serves as the only member of the studio audience.

Also appearing is Wainwright’s singer-songwriter sister, Martha, who appears virtually from Montreal. Their mother, Kate McGarrigle, passed away a few years after the 2007 recording, on which she appeared with her son for “Over the Rainbow.”

“I am only doing the beginning lines of the song a cappella without any piano accompaniment,” says Wainwright in a press release, “as an honor and memory to her and the hole she has left behind. It has a deeply personal meaning to me to sing this song. I think my mom and I singing that song together was also her finally acknowledging my homosexuality, with which she struggled for a long time.”

Rufus Does Judy at Capitol Studios premieres Thursday, June 10, at 8 p.m., on Veeps. Tickets are $30 to $35, or $60 to $65 for an intimate Q&A opportunity. Visit rufuswainwright.veeps.com.

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