Burt Reynolds told Lee Marlow “I will walk with you as far as you want to go with this” when the Wellington actress read scenes from “The Property Known as Garland” in one of his master classes.
Marlow replied, “Great. Get your running shoes.”
That was 18 months ago. Now Marlow is starring in “The Property Known as Garland” being staged by Reynolds Tuesday at the Lake Park Mirror Ballroom.
The one-night-only performance is a fundraiser for the Burt Reynolds Institute Building Fund. It is a fictional account of entertainment legend Judy Garland backstage at her final concert appearance in 1969. Marlow had to get permission to turn the play – which was written by Billy Van Zandt for his wife, Adrienne Barbeau – into a one-woman show.
Van Zandt had one caveat. “He said, ‘Promise one thing: You’re not going to sing because it’s not about her voice, it’s about her story,’” explains Marlow, before adding: “These stories in the show are true. It’s fictional that these stories were told in that space at that time…you know, backstage one hour before her last performance.”
Marlow says she’s been a Garland fan since she was a girl growing up in Miami’s Flamingo Village neighborhood.
“My mother was a big fan. My mother and Judy were the same age. We used to watch Judy Garland movies on TV in the afternoon. She set the bar, the standard. She was the triple threat that everyone else wanted to live up to. I think show business lost a huge giant.”
The proceeds from the event will go to build a theater stage and museum to house Reynold’s memorabilia and awards.
“The Property Known as Garland” is at 8 p.m. Tuesday in the Mirror Ballroom, 535 Park Ave., Lake Park. Tickets are $25 at the door or reserved by calling 561-743-9955 (Credit card purchases include a $2 service fee).