Troy Mink is Judy Garland
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Troy Mink is Judy Garland
by Miryam Gordon - SGN A&E Writer

The Judy Garland Christmas Special
Open Circle Theater
Through December 20


Troy Mink is well-known for playing women on stage. You may have seen him in his long-running incarnation of Carlotta, in Carlotta's Wing Ding. He's currently channeling an older Judy Garland, as she appeared in a television Christmas special years ago. The script is uncredited because it's almost entirely the exact conversation had on the television show - check that, it's a parody of the show. In the version at Open Circle Theater, Mink plays a drunk Judy Garland who can barely manage any aspect of her performance.

It's pretty terrific mimicry. It's hysterically funny, but also really sad. It's especially sad if you've seen the actual television special it's based on. The reality of that show is tragic. Josh Hartvigson joins in the fun as both Judy's daughters, Liza Minelli and Lorna Luft. Craig Trolli plays Joey Luft, who was about 7 or 8 at the time. The three of them do a marvelous job of it, along with the voice of the television director (Ian Johnson) and guests of the show, Ron Sandahl as Mel Torme, Todd Hull as Jack Jones, and Gary Zinter as Tracy Everett.

Everyone tries so very hard to get Judy on track, and to disguise any of her mistakes or fumbles around the TV audience. Choreography is credited to Emma Hassett, who recreates much of the dancing as done on the special. Costumes by K.D. Schill are elaborate, partly recreating costumes on the special, but extending the metaphor for other characters. Her grown-up version of the kids' clothing is very funny. Set design is by Ron Sandahl, who makes a faux television studio come alive.

Their program notes give credit to Judy Garland for being the catalyst for the Stonewall Riots, which started the day Garland died. Therefore, she is the "mother" of the Gay Rights Movement.

This production is one-act-length, at around an hour, and after intermission, you get to see the "real" Christmas special with commentary from "Judy" Mink. You might decide ahead of time if you want to see the spectacle from which the first hour is created. It's such a D-movie type production that you might want to remember Garland in a much better time of her life.

For more information, go to www.octheater.com or call 206-382-4250.