Songbook winner Yokom to make ATI debut


By Mark Ambrogi

Annie Yokom is returning to The Center for the Performing Arts in an iconic role.

The 2010 Great American Songbook Youth Ambassador winner will appear as one of three performers to play Judy Garland in the Actors Theatre of Indiana’s production of  “Beyond the Rainbow” at the Studio Theater in Carmel April 28 through May 14.

“We’re very excited to have her make her ATI debut,” said Don Farrell, an ATI co-founder who will direct and choreograph the show.  “Everybody at the Great American Songbook Foundation is thrilled that she got cast. There’s a lot of buzz.”

“Beyond the Rainbow” uses Garland’s memorable concert at Carnegie Hall on April 23, 1961 to tell the story of her life.

Yokom will play Garland from approximately age 14 up almost to the time of the concert.

“It shows the humanity of this icon. It’s a wide range that Annie gets to play,” Farrell said. “It shows all of Garland’s different sides. She was bashful one minute and brash the next.”

Anjali Rooney, Carmel, plays Garland as a child performer. Katy Gentry McCord, Fishers, plays Garland in her later years.

Farrell said it’s uncanny how much McCord sounds like Garland.

The Carnegie Hall concert marked a comeback for Garland, then 38.

“It’s like almost everybody who was anybody was at that concert,” Farrell said. “She would say the history of my life is in my songs. You couldn’t pick a better selection of songs to go through the story of her life than what she presented at Carnegie Hall that evening. As she sings certain songs, it’s almost as time stands still and we go through a series of vignettes as it follows the history of her life.”

Garland was born as Frances Gumm. Her parents were vaudeville actors and she appeared with her two older sisters as the Gumm Sisters.

The story follows Garland’s career, battles with drugs and alcohol, her five marriages and suicide attempts.

“It shows her dealing with her own little demons,” Farrell said.

Garland died of an accidental barbiturate overdose at age 47 in 1969

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