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Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2008

Rufus Wainwright

Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall (Geffen)

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“Rufus Does Judy”: You’ve gotta love Wainwright’s cheekiness. This two-disc set is filled with it, ranging from childhood remembrances of dressing up as Dorothy and the Wicked Witch (recounting his father’s bewildered utterances of “Dear God”) to his mother saying she feels “like Celine Dion” when she’s brought on stage. Mainly, Wainwright recreates the celebrated 1961 Judy Garland concert, song by song, backed by a 36-piece orchestra led by Stephen Oremus (music director for Broadway’s Wicked and Avenue Q). Highlights include the dreamy “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” and the Martha Wainwright sung “Stormy Weather.” And, of course, it’s nice to finally have an official version of Rufus singing “Over the Rainbow,” a staple in his regular set for many years.

While this may not appeal to the casual Wainwright fan, or even to every Garland devotee, this is a lovingly executed tribute. An even cheekier companion DVD, titled Rufus! Rufus! Rufus! Does Judy! Judy! Judy!, offers the performance as it appeared in London.
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