Watch Rufus Wainwright Perform "Over the Rainbow" from His New Concert Film
In which Wainwright and his band perform to a live audience of one — Renée Zellweger
Published May 27, 2021Since 2006, Rufus Wainwright has paid tribute to Judy Garland's 1961 live album, Judy at Carnegie Hall, including multiple runs of "Rufus Does Judy" concerts and a 2007 live album, Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall. In honour of what would be Garland's 99th birthday on June 10, Wainwright will be premiering a new concert film, Rufus Does Judy at Capitol Studios — ahead of that, he has shared the performance of "Over the Rainbow" that is set to appear in the film.
The stunning performance finds Wainwright clad in a silver-sequinned tank top delivering a heartfelt and powerful rendition of the Wizard of Oz classic from within the famed Los Angeles studio, joined by a backing quartet. The clip ends with ends with some endearing banter between Wainwright and the sole in-person audience member: Renée Zellweger, who won the Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Garland in 2019 film Judy.
The new concert film is also set to include guest performances by Kristin Chenoweth, appearing in-studio, and sister Martha Wainwright, appearing via videoconference from Montreal.
In a statement about his history with "Over the Rainbow," Rufus said:
I was about 5 years old when I started singing "Somewhere over the Rainbow". My mom would occasionally wake me up in the middle of the night and make me sing the song to guests to end the party. They would feel so bad that the kid was still up that late at night and leave. Much later, she accompanied me on the piano at Carnegie Hall, the Palladium, the Olympia and the Hollywood Bowl during the Rufus Does Judy shows in 2006 and 2007.
After she passed away, I am only doing the beginning lines of the song a cappella without any piano accompaniment as an honor and memory to her and the hole she has left behind. It has a deeply personal meaning to me to sing this song. I think my mom and I singing that song together was also her finally acknowledging my homosexuality with which she struggled for a long time. I am sure that similarly to my experience this song means a lot to LGBTQ folks young and old and their struggles with coming out and living a proud queer life.
Tickets to the premiere can be purchased via Veeps over here. All tickets include a screening of the film and behind-the-scenes featurette Inside the Ruby Red Slippers, and deluxe packages include a "fireside chat" Q&A livestream with Wainwright.
Watch Wainwright and co. perform "Over the Rainbow" below.