Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Matt Goss and Bonnie Langford will lead an all-star cast taking to the stage on Monday for a special one-off night celebrating the life and music of Judy Garland in support of youth homelessness charity Centrepoint.
Judy: No Place Like Home will take place at the Lyric Theatre in London’s West End on November 28 with proceeds going towards Centrepoint’s Independent Living Programme, which aims to provide genuinely affordable housing by charging rent at 1/3 of a young person’s salary.
The programme plans to deliver 300 homes across London and Greater Manchester to enable young people in apprenticeships and early-stage employment to start living independently.
Garland - who was born Ethel Gumm in 1922 is one of the most beloved cultural figures of the last century, attaining international stardom as an actress in both musical and dramatic roles, as a recording artist, and on the concert stage. To this day, she is still the voice of many childhoods as Dorothy in classic film The Wizard of Oz.
Although an incredible talent, Garland’s life was plagued with struggles with drug addiction, eating disorders and mental health, sparked by the terrible abuse she suffered throughout her career. Although heart-breaking, her story has been a source of inspiration for the LGBTQ+ community, who have adopted Judy as an icon, understanding her suffering and finding power in her music. Garland died in 1969.
Lisa Maxwell, actress and long-serving Centrepoint ambassador, learned about Garland’s experiences with homelessness, her struggles with mental health, and her unique connection with the LGBTQ+ community whilst playing her in Paul Taylor-Mills’ production of Peter Quilter’s award-winning play End Of The Rainbow.
Speaking about her involvement in a press statement, Maxwell said: “Judy Garland is an icon for so many people and her experiences of addiction and homelessness still resonate today. However, it is her music, films and voice that most people cherish and that is what will be front and centre of this unmissable, star-studded tribute to Judy Garland, who many regard as the greatest entertainer of all time.
“Through Judy’s life and music, Judy: No Place Like Home, will shine a light on a cause that Judy would have no doubt approved of. I’ve worked with Centrepoint for over twenty years and the support they provide homeless young people is absolutely vital, particularly right now with so many of us struggling.”
Celia Imrie, Angela Rippon, Dame Arlene Phillips, Carly Paoli, Chizzy Akudolu, Frances Ruffelle, Gaby Roslin, Gina Beck, Jessica Hynes, John Partridge, Kate Thornton, Lesley Garrett, Nate James, Paul Baker, Patrick Robinson, Rosie Jones, Sadie Frost, Stephanie Beacham, Tamzin Outhwaite, Max Bowden, Tom Read-Wilson and Wayne Sleep OBE will also appear in the tribute, which marks 100 years since the year of Garland’s birth.
Centrepoint predicts that almost 30,000 young people aged 16-24 will face homelessness in England this Christmas.
Last year, it was revealed that youth homelessness figures had reached a five year high because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and this year figures are expected to climb even higher. Centrepoint has also reported an increase in calls to its Helpline in the last 12 months, driven by various factors including the soaring cost of living.
Seyi Obakin OBE, Centrepoint Chief Executive said: “This cost-of-living crisis is pushing vulnerable young people closer to breaking point than ever before.
“Everyone should be able to keep a roof over their heads, pay their bills and put food on the table. That is becoming increasingly difficult for the country’s most vulnerable young people, some of whom have just £5 a week to live on after rent and bills. This comes at an enormous personal cost of skipped meals, poor mental health and isolation.
“Around 30,000 young people could face homelessness this winter – but this is a conservative prediction, and it is likely that this number will be significantly higher. The government has taken some steps to support young people during this crisis, but it’s clear that they are still struggling. We need further action if we are to avoid more and more young people facing homelessness.”
Tickets for the special performance of Judy: No Place Like Home on November 28 are available from https://ticketing.nimaxtheatres.com/tickets/series/LYJUD01C . For more information on the show, visit https://nimaxtheatres.com/shows/judy-no-place-like-home/