Weekend Edition – Saturday, June 10, 2006 · The concert poster for Judy Garland’s 1961 performance at Carnegie Hall proclaimed her the “world’s greatest entertainer.” Rufus Wainwright is certainly less well-known than Garland, but he’s retaining the set list and the superlative billing for his recreation of that legendary show.
At the time of the original Carnegie Hall concert, Garland was long past her days of superstardom, which began with 1939’s The Wizard of Oz and waned in the ’50s. Garland, who had not appeared in any films for over six years, had also battled substance abuse and hepatitis.
The concert, however, was a major success: Garland packed the hall. The show recording spent 13 weeks at No. 1 and won five Grammys. The album has never been out of print.