BZ Interviews
Spotlight on: Lorna Luft

Born to the legendary Judy Garland and producer Sid Luft, Lorna began her career on her mother’s TV show at the age of eleven. She has performed extensively on Broadway and in international productions, as well as having a number of film and TV credits to her name. Lorna also co-produced Life with Judy Garland, the Emmy-winning mini-series based on her memoir, Me and My Shadows. Her latest book, A Star Is Born: Judy Garland and the Film that Got Away and her one-woman show Songs My Mother Taught Me, celebrating her mother’s songbook, have received warm praise. She tells us about her current show…

Tell us a little about your show here at Crazy Coqs?

The show is called Coming Home – partly in reference to the fact that I moved back to New York City after being gone for almost 40 years. I put together this show to embrace the legacy of the Great American Songbook and how it all started on 28th Street, known then as Tin Pan Alley. It is dedicated to all the composers and the lyricists who were born in New York City.

What is it about London that you particularly enjoy?

I grew up half in London and half in the US. I moved to London when I was eight years old, so it is a second home to me. My husband Colin is British, and his family is still there. I adore London and I adore UK audiences.

You’ll be performing here during Pride Week –  what does that mean to you?

Pride is very personal to me because of the Stonewall riots in New York City in June 1969. There have been so many stories about how Pride started, but I think that sometimes myth has some truth rooted in it. The Stonewall riots happened the night after my mother Judy Garland’s funeral. Many people have told me it was the ember that lit the bonfire of the riots for equality. I take Pride very seriously and I am always honoured to go to any Pride event no matter where it is in the world.

Your mother also had a great affinity with a diverse audience in her day – do you feel like you are continuing that legacy?

I feel that my mother taught all three of us to be incredibly tolerant and to never judge people by anything but the truth of their heart. That is the way I have raised my children and now my grandchildren. My mother always judged people by who they were as a human being and nothing else; I have continued to carry on her legacy of tolerance and to always fight for equality for another human being.

You’ve played in so many different venues around the world – what stands out about Crazy Coqs?

The intimacy of that room is so special because it doesn’t have a bad seat. The sound system is great. I consider Crazy Coqs as one of my homes. I also think that the building that it occupies is one of the most beautiful venues I have seen in my life.

What is it do you think that still draws you to performing after all these years?

I feel incredibly lucky that people still want to hear me sing. I think to myself, ‘What else am I going to do?’ I am grateful to be working in an industry that is often so insecure. You don’t know what’s going to happen from one moment to the next. You can be, I don’t know, winning an Olivier Award in one part of the year and the next, you can’t get a job. So I think that show business is a gift and anytime that you are given a gift, you should be grateful, say thank you, and do your job.

When you’re not on stage, where can we find you?

Because I live in New York City, there’s so many things that I’m always involved in. If it’s not a charity event, it’s a dinner, or seeing friends. And the same goes for London. I have family and friends here and I really enjoying visiting them, especially if I haven’t seen them for a while. I also enjoy the city itself. London is a vibrant place with so many things to do and see. I’m always turning a corner and thinking to myself, ‘Gosh, I haven’t seen that before!’ It’s an interesting, architecturally brilliant city.