Jenna Pastuszek Makes New York’s Green Room 42 Debut With Judy Garland Tribute
To celebrate this year the 100and anniversary of the birth of the legendary Judy Garland (June 10, 1922 – June 22, 1969), performer, writer, producer and teacher Jenna Pastuszek and musical director, arranger, educator and pianist Joshua Zecher-Ross will bring their popular cabaret concert Be happy ! : A tribute to the greatest artist in the world, Judy Garland at New York’s The Green Room 42, for Pastuszek’s one-night live in-person debut at the club. Designed to bring a new perspective to longtime fans and to introduce millennials and gen Zers to the life and canon of the timeless artist, the tribute is not in the traditional format of a knockoff of Garland. It features lavish new arrangements of a specially curated list of classic favorites and lesser-known songs, interspersed with heartfelt personal stories that will help you forget your troubles and be happy!
Originally scheduled for a May 2020 date at GR42, the pandemic changed the plan. Pivoting, as many artists have done throughout the industry shutdown, the duo began performing the show in a variety of settings, including outdoor, masked, BYO Lawn Chair subscriber events, donor fundraisers in parking lots, special concert series, pre-recorded virtual screenings, and live ZOOM shows, to support theaters and nonprofits trying to keep the arts afloat. In 2020 and 2021 only, Become happy! performances (including appearances in Jim Caruso Cast Party Pajamasat the Paper Mill Playhouse, Bucks County Playhouse, and Delaware Theater Company, among others) raised approximately $20,000 through ticket sales and attendee contributions.
As the pandemic evolved, so did the show. “Judy Garland has struggled to overcome a plethora of trauma over the course of her life. How lucky I was and am to be able to sing through her catalog while healing mine over the past two years,” noted Pastuszek.” She was a fighter, and the stories I share throughout the evening honor her fight and focus on navigating many, unfortunately all too common, pandemic experiences, including the loss of loved ones to COVID-19, eviction, relocation, and more.”
Directed by Ari Axelrod, with dramaturgy by Caitlin C. Fahey, she will also examine why Garland’s star power is just as potent as it was 83 years ago when the world first heard her speak. from a place “somewhere over the rainbow”. in The Wizard of Oz. What is it about Judy that continues to build new generations of admirers and loving followers? What can we learn from his resilience and his determination to forget his problems?
Jenna told me that her own Ukrainian heritage impacted her healing stories. “A lot of the stories I tell throughout the show involve my family, and I rewrote part of the show to talk about the atrocities happening in Ukraine right now. Ukrainians, as we all know seen in the news, are tough people who even face tragedy with a sense of humor and stoicism. That’s me too. We heal by moving in it rather than wallowing in it, and we know that laughter, despite the gravity of things, can sometimes be the best policy (see Kyiv people taking down road signs so Russians get lost) Now I’m incredibly privileged to play in a cabaret hall and not not fighting for my life right now, and that reality in itself has impacted my gratitude for this opportunity and inspired me to share more of my stories and myself with the public, with the aim of being a voice for the Ukrainian people everywhere. marketing the show and my voice on social media, I shared my family’s story, which raised over $1,800 for United Help Ukraine.”
When I asked Jenna which of the songs she sings is her favorite, and what she likes the most, she revealed: “The problem with singing in Judy’s catalog is that she sang so many great songs it’s hard to choose!!! I share with the public that my favorite song to sing – a song that, when I discovered it on a live album of recordings by The Judy Garland Show, made me cry on the subway because of his sheer vulnerability and shaky voice — is “That’s it.” It’s a ballad, a love song, and I think of my husband and the many simple, quiet nights we’ve shared throughout the pandemic, which brings a smile to my face.
And while she can be heard daily by everyone, everywhere as the voice of Amazon Alexa, Starbucks Café, Crest and more on Pandora Radio, Jenna is very excited to return to the New York stage. . “New York is, to quote Lin-Manuel Miranda, ‘the greatest city in the world!’ I’m so excited to be in the Big Apple, doing the thing I love most in the world: singing! There’s nothing quite like the energy, the passion, the drive of New Yorkers, and I’m thrilled to finally be at a place in the pandemic where we can come out of hiding and celebrate how far we’ve come in as a collective, as human beings navigating a global pandemic and as artists who have lived, lost, discovered, changed, grown, struggled. Judy was a survivor. She just continued. And what better way for all of us in this present moment to remember to carry on than by celebrating his music and his legacy?
Be happy ! : A tribute to the greatest artist in the world, Judy Garland plays Thursday, April 7, 7 p.m., at The Green Room 42, inside YOTEL, 570 Tenth Avenue, 4and floor, NYC. For tickets (priced at $29-49; all tickets include a $10 food and beverage credit), call (646) 707-2990 or drop by in line. Everyone must show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 to enter. The show will also be broadcast live; tickets are $19 and can be purchased here. A link will be emailed to you one hour before the show.
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