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  • Writer's pictureJason Haskins

Extracting a slice of the rainbow

Updated: Aug 2, 2020

"I've always taken 'The Wizard of Oz' very seriously, you know. I believe in the idea of the rainbow. And I've spent my entire life trying to get over it." - Judy Garland

There's certainly something to be said about the life of Judy Garland. From finding stardom at an early age to being an icon to battling demons for most of her adult life, Garland was truly a person to behold.

A product of the studio system of 1930's Hollywood, Garland's fame reached a new stratosphere back in 1939 thanks to the release of The Wizard of Oz. Garland struggled with drug addiction and weight issues (issues exasperated by studios sending her to rehab to get healthy and turning around asking her to lose weight once she was healthy) throughout her life, notably starting towards the end of the 1940's.

It was early in the 1960's that Garland -- in debt and raising three kids -- turned to television to earn a living. In 1963, The Judy Garland Show premiered. A variety show starring the vaudeville trained Garland seemed like a no-brainer, but rising production costs, a sometimes disinterested Garland, and failure to keep producers and sponsors, the show only lasted one season.

This brings us to how I spent most of the last few months, researching, transcribing, and readying myself to help direct Alley Repertory Theater's production of Jodi Sings Judy. A Christmas Extravaganza, this production reimagines the Christmas episode of Garland's show, where her children Liza Minelli, Lorna Luft, and Joe Luft all appear, with guest spots by Mel Torme, Jack Jones, and more.

Led by a fantastic cast of performers, including the incomparable Jodi Eichelberger as Ms. Garland, the staged production of this episode is a treat to behold. Sure, I might be biased as the director, but so much of the magic happening is thanks to the cast and crew who gave their blood, sweat, and (maybe) tears to this production and deliver a show like no other.

Writing and more

A large portion of my time in the month of November was devoted to directing the show mentioned above. While many evenings were spent in a rehearsal hall, I did find a few moments to get some writing done.

The Boise State Broncos and Boston College Eagles kept me busy writing for Bronco Nation News and Chowder and Champions. And things might get interesting over the next few weeks as their football teams will meet up in the First Responder Bowl in Dallas

I was delayed in attempting to finish my upcoming short novel in time for Thanksgiving. There is still an outside chance I get this Christmas story finished in the upcoming weeks -- it's still my goal -- but we'll see.

These were the main three writing projects I tackled in November. I did sprinkle in some re-writes on my new full-length play, Half Past Midnight. Sorting through paperwork and calendars from last month, I realize I did not touch my third fantasy novel, The Dragon Slayer, so some love will need to be given to that.

The short film I co-wrote with Shelby Bay was shown at a film festival in early November and was released online shortly after. I had a lot of good experience collaborating on this film and was proud of the final version. Taking Flight is directed by Brandon Freeman and stars Leta Harris Neustaedter, Matthew Kelly, and Ana Camacho.

Around the Treasure Valley in December

December always has plenty to offer in terms of events around the Treasure Valley. Here are just a few:

- First Friday in The Surel Mitchell Live Work Create District in Garden City features over 20 venues and more artists from the Riverside Hotel to 38th Street. (12/7/18)

- Ida Ho Ho is back once again. This holiday CD of Idaho musicians is always a favorite of mine and the annual benefit concert will be held at the Visual Arts Collective on 12/8.

- HomeGrown Theatre will finish out their first season at The Gem Center for the Arts with their production of Horizon Three, running December 21 thru January 5.

- If you're looking for a long-time December favorite be sure to head over to Ballet Idaho for their production of The Nutcracker.

- The 2018 Idaho Potato Bowl will be held on December 21, pitting the BYU Cougars against the Western Michigan Broncos.

Thanks for journeying with me for another year.

Be bold.

Be kind.

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