Mum, me and music

PUBLISHED: 15:38 23 January 2008 | UPDATED: 11:29 01 July 2010

CONTINUING the legacy of one of the most well-loved entertainers of all time is a task few performers would dare to attempt and even fewer manage to pull off.

CONTINUING the legacy of one of the most well-loved entertainers of all time is a task few performers would dare to attempt and even fewer manage to pull off.

But for Lorna Luft, daughter of the late, great Judy Garland, the issue came down to more than just talent.

"For decades my dear friend Barry Manilow has been urging me to create a musical tribute to my mum," she explained. " 'You have to do this,' he'd tell me. 'It's your great mission in life to continue her legacy.' Well, for a long time that legacy was just too overwhelming, just too personal for me, her daughter.

"But a few years ago I had reached a point in my life where I did become a little more comfortable with the comparisons and the legacy. I felt I had come full circle and might be able to undertake the challenge of celebrating her legacy. So I called Barry to tell him I thought I was finally ready to attempt it."

The show was put together by Luft along with help from her husband, musician Colin R Freeman and top Broadway writers Ken and Mitzie Welch.

"I sat with two fantastic writers and we spent six months together basically going through absolutely all of her material, all of the movies, all of the television shows, all the recordings and picking and choosing and then they wrote the show for me. My husband and myself and the Welches we all collaborated. Just like you put any show together you write it you produce it that's what you do."

The singer says as she was so well acquainted with her mother's back catalogue the process went smoothly from start to finish.

"I've lived with the material for all these years, it's not like something I just all of a sudden discovered, it was basically picking and choosing what worked and what felt right and what didn't. It was a natural process to do."

With such a famous set of songs the temptation to try to emulate her mother must have been strong but Luft says she felt comfortable enough as an artist in her own right to put her on stamp on the material.

"I have to put my own voice to it. It's all new arrangements but it's all done in a way that my mothers were basically conceived my husband has just revoiced the arrangements so they would fit me and it's all done with the integrity and the class and the respect that everybody who sits in the audience would expect."

The bond between mother and daughter is obviously very special for the singer and is something she wanted to express in the show.

She said: "The show has been received really well. The first time I performed the show I was really relived that everyone was standing up and they had their tissues out and they were crying and they all came backstage and said 'It really made me think about my relationship with my parents,' and that was what we wanted to do."

Despite their mother, grandmother and aunt Liza Minelli (Luft's half sister) all being big names in show business Luft says her children aren't interested in continuing the family tradition of performing.

"My children are not going into show business. My son is 23, he's a stock broker and he's going to go into business and my daughter is 17 and she doesn't want to either.

"They know about their grandmother and they know about their mum and all of that. They see it all and they don't really want to do it. I want them to be happy so I want them to do whatever makes them happy and fulfilled human beings."

* Lorna Luft's Songs My Mother Taught Me is at Fairfield Halls, Croydon on February 1 at 8pm, call the box office on 020 8688 9291.

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