Five years before her tragic death at age 47 from a drug overdose, Judy Garland made a series of recordings in 1964, shortly after starring in a self-titled CBS variety show, to use for her memoir. The book was never published, and the tapes disappeared for decades.
But now, they’re the basis for The Book That I’m Going to Write, a play adapted and performed by Jason Powell, an actor who first heard the tapes as a bootleg CD in 2000. In the excerpts — which Powell recites verbatim during his one-man show which runs from Nov. 3-5 at NYC’s Jerry Orbach Theater — an often-impaired Judy rails at her enemies and fantasizes about how her autobiography will even the score.
“People might be surprised to hear such naked and visceral anger from a legend who never showed that side of herself to the public,” Powell exclusively told Closer Weekly in the magazine’s latest issue, on newsstands now. “She hoped to take control of her own narrative, but it was ultimately in vain. As a fan, this is my way to bring that narrative to an audience.”
The news of Powell’s stage show about Judy comes just months after it was revealed that Renée Zellweger will be portraying the late Wizard of Oz star in the upcoming biopic, Judy, about Judy’s prolific life and career. “Renée is a massive fan,” a friend of the 49-year-old actress exclusively told Closer in a previous interview. “She admired Judy, her trailblazing, her raw talent.”
To get into character, Renée worked with vocal and acting coaches, the pal revealed. “She’s studying all of it. She feels like she’s transformed into Judy, body and soul. Her biggest challenge has been that she honors Judy’s memory in the most respectful way. She’s fully aware that this is a role of a lifetime,” the friend said.
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