Fringe 2019 Review: 'Ingenue: Deanna Durbin, Judy Garland and the Golden Age of Hollywood'

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Half a century after her death, everyone still knows Judy Garland’s name, but who remembers Deanna Durbin, her even-more-popular childhood rival? Writer/performer Melanie Gall wants to bring Durbin – who was a world-wide sensation during the Great Depression and World War II before disappearing into blissful obscurity – back into the public consciousness, and her marvelous musical play Ingenue makes a compelling and entertaining case for the forgotten starlet’s rehabilitation.

Surprisingly little has been written about the superstar who saved Universal Studios from bankruptcy, so Gall based her script largely on primary sources and actual quotes, as she dramatizes an interview between Durbin and an invisible New York Times journalist on the occasion of Garland’s death. Durbin covers her life story, from her birth in Canada to being discovered by MGM's Louis Mayer to her near-miss with making the Wizard of Oz, drawing parallels throughout between her career and her famous frenemy.
Durbin’s reminiscences about Hollywood’s Golden Age afford opportunities for Gall to sing period pop standards and novelty tunes. Luckily, Gall is a classically trained vocalist who easily fills the intimate Blue venue with her warm, operatic soprano. Ingenue left me wanting to learn more about Durbin’s amazing life, and hear more of Gall’s equally amazing voice.

Ingenue: Deanna Durbin, Judy Garland and the Golden Age of Hollywood

Melanie Gall Presents
New York NY
Blue
Ages 7 and up
60 minutes
$12
Friday, May 17th 7:30 PM
Saturday, May 18th 7:00 PM
Sunday, May 19th 1:00 PM
Tuesday, May 21st 7:00 PM
Wednesday, May 22nd 7:30 PM
Saturday, May 25th 5:45 PM
Sunday, May 26th 2:00 PM