Denise first toured with 'The Magic Of Judy Garland' in 1991. Before that first tour Denise had always used the legendary torch singer's anthems in her own live show. The process of devising 'The Magic Of Judy Garland' came at great expense and a lot of time. First, Denise obtained the original score from Garland's much celebrated Carnegie Hall show from April 1961. She then had the entire score transposed into her own keys and set about having parts made for keyboards, drums and all the other instruments in her twelve piece band. Her partner, and musical director Tom Anderson had widespread connections with musicians. He chose the musicians himself, ensuring not only their talent, but that they had a love for the kind of music they would be playing. Denise called her orchestra - The Rainbow Orchestra.
Denise and Tom then set to work. Rehearsals took place over a six week period and tiny adjustments were made to the arragements and running order. Finding people to put the show together was the last piece of the jigsaw. The tour promoter would secure the venues and a support act.
The first tour debted in 1991. Timed to commemorate the anniversary of Judy's original concert. The show was so successful, that Denise took the show out for a second time the following year. The next two years saw two more national tours of the show.
Denise then took a break with the show when she starred in the West End production of 'Blood Brothers' after eight months in the West End, Denise joined the UK National Tour of Blood Brothers for four consecutive years.
Denise missed the Garland show and was keen to reprise the 'Magic Of Judy Garland' and sought out the services of a Tour Promotor
The Derek Grant Organisation was chosen to take the tour on the road for the 2006 tour. It turned out that the Derek Grant Organisation (DGO) had a very different idea of how the show should work. Denise had always been happy to promote any show that she is appearing in and enjoys taking part in interview and press appearances. She also realises that it vital to any show's success.
DGO didn't seem to share that view. Not once was Denise asked to appear in any promotional campaign or undertake any interviews. She even asked why they were not happening. To be told that everything was in place and the show would sell itself.
The worst fears that an artiste can have, began to unfold when she arrived at theatres to find that only minimal promotional material had been dispatched.
'It makes you go cold - I had been asking for weeks about this, only to be told that the shows were doing well. Only to find when I got to the venues that only a black poster had been made. Even that had a black and white picture of me on it - Not even a picture of Judy. It looked so cheap. Friends in various towns told me that they didn't know I was on the road with a show. It was demoralising. The promotor had put on a comedian who did almost an hour before I even went on. The whole tour was badly managed. Judy was a gay icco and we were appearing in towns with big gay audiences. We found out afterwards that the promotor hadn't approached them. In Blackpool there is a bar called 'Garlands' and is Judy themed - They had no idea I was in town!'
Denise felt humiliated appearing on stage in large theatres that were half full. Her website did promote the show and took calls from the press wishing to interview her. But this had happened too late. In several cases, she was approached by press days after the show. They all told her that no one had approached them for an interview. The support act that the DGO supplied was not suited for the audience that had turned up.
Denise was downhearted and dejected with the whole experience, with the exception of a concert in her home town. A near sold out Grand Theatre in Blackpool shook to the thunderous applause of the crowd. As the tour progressed audience figures improved as the website did all it could do to drum up support. The local press were also notified in advance. One pub licencee in a town with a large gay community told us. "Garland is a true gay icon. Even younger gay people love her. We had no idea that just a few hundred yards away someone was on stage doing a full concert of Judy's songs. If we had known the place would have sold out."
After 2010 Denise decided to semi retire. She would only take on work if it was something that really appealed to her. She was asked to put on several 'Magic Of Judy Garland' concerts which were self promoted and always to packed venues. One of the most notable of these was a 2018 performance at a restaurant in London's Soho. The show was completely sold out. The venue's management were delighted with the show. Commenting that the show wwas the best the venue ever had.
In 2020, Lee Waddingham, the producer of many of Denise's Pantomimes, indicated that he wanted to revive her show. He believed it should have a makeover with new lighting and stage setting. Following on from the success of the biopic film 'Judy' Lee, and the company 'Red Entertainment' took the show on the road.
Denise was lucky to have completed her tour just as Covid restrictions came into place.
Comments and Reviews *
*** 'Denise Nolan with her dazzling vocals and sheer artistry will leave audiences wanting more' *** 'I have been a Judy Garland fan since I was five years old - my Mum got me into her. Sadly, I have never seen any of the Nolans live before. However, I've seen quite a few people do Judy's music in concert. I have to say that no one comes anywhere close in capturing the essence of her music. Your show is called the Magic of Judy Garland - I think you should think about calling it the Magic of Denise Nolan.' *** I travelled over from Spain to see Denise and I was not disappointed' *** 'That concert was just amazing' *** 'I am not a fan of Judy garland, I only came to accompany my Mum, but I have to say - I am a fan of Denise Nolan' ***
We hope you got the chance to see the show - it really is an exceptional and a magical night of theatre.
VISIT THE 2020 MUSIC OF JUDY GARLAND TOUR PAGE HERE