2022 marked the 100th birthday of Frances Ethel Gumm, better known to the world as Judy Garland. The youngest of three daughters, “Baby” Gumm proved to be a natural actress at an early age, with an adult voice and a matching innate musicality. Her mother pushed her three daughters into show business as a singing trio, The Gumm Sisters. Baby quickly became a star and landed a film contract. Renamed Judy Garland, she starred in three classic films ─ The Wizard of Oz, Easter Parade, and A Star is Born ─ with performances deemed among the finest in Hollywood. Her private life became part of her legend and was entwined with her career in a way unusual in show business. Using film clips, television appearances, and many recordings, this seminar will explore Judy Garland’s career-- from child star, to mature actress, to adored concert performer, to icon. We will simultaneously delve into the good, the bad, and the ugly of entertainment history, its relation to American culture at the time, and its effects on Garland. There will also be a showing of one of her lesser-known feature films during one of the class sessions.
One Hundred Years of Judy Garland - In Person
Group Leader: BRADFORD CONNER and BENJAMIN SEARS
Venue: The Engineering Center
Meets on: Wednesdays 3:30 to 5:30 pm
Class Size: 24
Teaching Style: Lecture and discussion
Weekly Preparation: None
Group Leader Biography:
Bradford Conner and Benjamin Sears have been performing together since 1989 and lecture regularly on the music they perform. Conner and Sears are leading scholars of Irving Berlin, with six recordings of his songs and print publications. Also opera and history lovers, both have taught at Beacon Hill Seminars and are recipients of the Jack Curtin Award. Sears, a graduate of Ithaca College and editor of The Irving Berlin Reader, wrote a chapter in Adapting the Wizard of Oz: Musical Versions from Baum to MGM and Beyond, and is in the early stages of developing The Fred Astaire Reader. Conner is a graduate of West Virginia University, having also studied at the University of Salzburg (Austria) and the American College of Salzburg. A renaissance individual with degrees in business, musicology, and foreign language, he has lectured and written on his interests in music and world history.