The Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand impersonators Summer Orlando and Barbra Joan Streetsand, fresh from a two-night gig at the Gold Room in Colorado Springs — and a tiny bit jet-lagged — were on a layover in Chicago Monday afternoon, when they placed a conference call, eager to chat about their upcoming show at Westerly's Granite Theatre.
"The Judy and Barbra Show" is a 90-minute, award-winning tribute to Streisand and the late Garland, the pair explained, a show they've been working on together for the past four years, a show "for young kids and for old kids," a show that brings the two famous actors to life.
"It's a reunion like no other," said Orlando with a laugh. "Barbra really is Barbra."
"And Summer really is Judy," added Streetsand.
"We're so very excited," Orlando added. "We've never done a show in Westerly before."
"We love Westerly," said Streetsand, "and we love Watch Hill. We always go to the beach in Watch Hill."
The pair began working together after they put a New Year's Eve show together for a nightclub in New Haven, where they both call home.
"It was called 'A Boozy New Year's Eve,'" said Orlando, "and Barb and I put together a one-hour show and sang some songs."
After a successful show, the duo, both school teachers, sought the advice of Varla Jean Merman, the character originated and portrayed by drag performer Jeffery Roberson. They added some songs and some structure and landed upon the show that has been entertaining audiences ever since. They have presented the show all over New England, in Florida, Colorado, South Carolina and at the Greenroom 42 in New York.
In the first act, Orlando said, the audience members are the guests at a special get-together that Streisand has arranged in the basement of her Malibu, Calif., compound.
"She really has a compound," he said. "With plush shops and even a frozen yogurt shop ... just like a shopping mall."
But Barbra gets lonely, he added, so "with the help of the ruby slippers, the audience and a séance," Garland is brought back to life and to the party.
"Hilarity ensues," Orlando laughed as he continued to share bits and pieces of the show.
In the second act, he said, the audience is transported back in time as the two recreate the famous “Judy Garland Show” episode.
"We sing all the favorites," said Streetsand. "'Don't Rain on my Parade,'" 'My Man,' 'The Trolley Song,' and of course, 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow.'"
"Basically, all the big ones," added Orlando, who was the first male actor to ever play the role of Dorothy in a licensed production of "The Wizard of Oz."
"We like to make people smile and laugh," said Orlando, "and cry too ... but tears of joy."
"If people leave the theater knowing a little more about Barbra and Judy," he added, "then we know we've done our job."