If gay icon Judy Garland were still alive today, she'd be celebrating her 100th birthday this year on June 10. To honor her memory, another gay icon, singer Rufus Wainwright is covering Garland's music in a new album, Rufus Does Judy At Capitol Studios, which drops like a present on June 10.
You can get a sneak peek of the album's songs in Wainwright's new video for "Puttin' on the Ritz" below:
Shared as a virtual livestream concert the new record, Rufus Does Judy at Capitol Studios features Wainwright using the very microphone Garland used while making her historic recordings at Capitol Studios. Wainwright was backed by a four-piece jazz ensemble before a micro-audience comprised soley of two-time Academy Award-winning actress Renée Zellweger, winner of 2020’s “Best Actress” Oscar for her spectacular performance as Garland in 2019’s Judy. The performance was also a rare complete performance of Wainwright’s now-legendary homage to 1961’s Judy Garland At Carnegie Hall (Wainwright’s sixth full-length release and first live album, 2007’s Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall).
In addition to releasing the new tribute album, Wainwright will also celebrate Garland's 100th with exclusive Rufus Does Judy residencies at City Winery In New York City and Chicago (get tickets for the City Winery performances, and/or the remainder of his Unfollow the Rules tour here). The singer recently announced that the Rufus Does Judy live performances will also feature special guests like Laura Benanti (June 5), Mx Justin Vivian Bond (June 8), and Molly Ringwald (June 10).
"In a In terms of actually fundamentally knowing these songs, honestly feeling them in my bones, Judy Garland has always had a good 30 year leg up on me and despite my valiant attempts, she will always be the Queen,” Wainwright said in a statement to the press. “Listening back to my latest renditions of some of these amazing numbers, I was slightly taken aback...in a good way. I don’t know if it’s the pared down arrangements, my own as well as the planet’s trials and tribulations, or the fact that everyone but myself were required to record these tracks with masks on (playfully emblazoned with Judy’s likeness mind you). But, there is a darker quality to these renditions, a measure of pain involved that in almost every other aspect of life can prove burdensome, except for in the act singing. I now know these songs and definitely feel them deep in my bones.”