“The Book I’m going to Write, by Judy Garland” — Help Needed

by Ernest Kearney  —  The Book That I’m Going to Write, by Judy Garland is an idea that someone should have talked performer/creator Jason Powell out of.

We are told that in 1964 Judy Garland, upon contemplating the writing of her memoirs was advised by Irving Paul “Swifty” Lazar. The legendary agent suggested she use a tape recorder into which she could put her thoughts; at a later date a ghostwriter would then be used to edit and craft them into shape.  While the book never materialized, the tapes she dictated do exist.

So far so good.

It was from these long lost tapes, the program notes explain, that Powell “faithfully adapted” his show.

Performer/Creator Jason Powell

And here the trouble begins.

Now I and about half the audience with whom I spoke were expecting a show somewhere in the realm of the late great Jim Bailey, a “fantasy-performer” who recreated the personas of Barbra Streisand, Phyllis Diller and Judy Garland with an uncanny preciseness.

But no.

A young man in his twenties, Jason Powell performs the 42-year-old Garland as…well, a young man in his twenties.

Perhaps this could have succeeded, because Powell seems to have made quite a study of Garland, except for performing the tapes “faithfully.”

He should have tried to find the ghostwriter Swifty Lazar had in mind.

The Garland on the tapes gives voice to her bitterness, repeating the same accusation against the same individuals over and over.

bronze ribbon - Fringe Festival

Powell states that he is presenting the recording “as nakedly honest as they escaped from Ms. Garland.”

Well “honest” or not, the repetition gets boring very fast.

This material would have been tedious even with Jim Bailey performing it. But he would have been wise enough not to.

A BRONZE MEDAL, but barely.


♦     ♦     ♦


The Book That I’m Going to Write, by Judy Garland


Is Playing During the Hollywood Fringe Festival 2018

in the

The Ruby Theatre
The Complex Hollywood

6476 Santa Monica Blvd


The Final Showing is: Saturday, June 23, 2018 @ 3:00pm

For Complete Show Information, Tickets and Reservations Go To:



What is the Hollywood Fringe Festival 2018?
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Written by

An award-winning L.A. playwright and rabble-rouser of note who has hoisted glasses with Orson Welles, been arrested on three continents and once beat up Charlie Manson. His first play, "Among the Vipers" was a semi-finalist in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition and was featured in the Carnegie-Mellon Showcase of New Plays. It was produced at the NPT Theater in Ashland, Oregon and Los Angeles’ celebrated Odyssey Ensemble Theatre. His following play, “The Little Boy Who Loved Monsters” was produced at The Hollywood Actors Theater, where he earned praise from the Los Angeles Times for his “…inordinately creative writing.” The play went on to numerous other productions including Berlin’s The Black Theatre under the direction of Rainer Fassbinder who wrote in his program notes of Kearney, “He is a skilled playwright, but more importantly he is a dangerous one.” Ernest Kearney has worked as literary manager or as dramaturge for among others The Hudson Theater Guild, Nova Diem and the Odyssey Ensemble Theatre, where he still serves on the play selection committee. He has been the recipient of two Dramalogue Awards and a finalist or semi-finalist, three times, in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition. His work has been performed by Michael Dunn, Sandra Tsing Loh, Jack Colvin and Billy Bob Thornton, and to date, either as playwright or director, he has upwards of a hundred and thirty productions under his belt, including a few at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater as puppeteer. Kearney remains focused on his writing, as well as living happily ever after with his lovely wife Marlene. His stage reviews and social essays can be found at TheTVolution.com and workingauthor.com. Follow him on Facebook.

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