Straight out of lockdown and into a tour – Judy & Liza at City Varieties Music Hall on 20 May

Described as ‘dazzling and heartwarming’, the show charts the careers and relationship of Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli, and will be the first out of lockdown for some of the UK’s re-opened theatres. This will mean that measures will be in place to ensure audience safety.

Judy & Liza is produced by Bill Elms Productions and On Song Productions; created and written by West End performer Emma Dears who appears as Liza Minnelli; with Francis Goodhand as musical director. Helen Sheals as Judy Garland performs alongside Emma as they deliver timeless classics (such as Cabaret, Maybe This Time and Over The Rainbow) with star quality.

Helen Sheals as Judy Garland

The turbulent tale of the two stars is told against the backdrop of their infamous 1964 London Palladium concert, as parallels are drawn between the iconic songs and the personal lives of Judy and Liza.

Emma Dears self-penned the musical biopic. Her acting career began at the age of nine when she toured the UK in the title role of Annie. Part-way through her course at the Italia Conti Academy for Performing Arts, she was offered a part in the tour of Les Miserables performing in Dublin and Edinburgh, which she accepted. Emma’s West End roles have included Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, and Oliver. Television roles include Emmerdale, Nice Guy Eddie, Shameless, Hollyoaks, Brookside, and Second Coming.

Emma Dears as Liza

Helen is widely known for her roles in Coronation Street and Downton Abbey. She has played Judy Garland before – at The Arts Theatre in London. Her theatre roles have included Mistress Quickly in Merry Wives and Goneril in King Lear for Northern Broadsides, directed by Sir Jonathan Miller; Mari Hoff in The Rise and Fall of Little Voice (Hull Truck and UK Tour); and Shirley Valentine. Helen’s TV credits include Brookside, Meterosexuality, Family Affairs, Last Tango in Halifax, Silent Witness, Holby City, Casualty, Doctors, Dalziel and Pascoe, and Mrs Wigan in three seasons of Downton Abbey.

Producer Bill Elms:“We are thrilled to finally announce the 10th Anniversary UK tour of Judy & Liza. It’s a production very close to my heart as I worked on the very first show. It is going to be a very special tour, as for many of the theatres, this will be their first show of the year as we come out of lockdown. We can promise audiences a safe and very memorable experience as they rediscover the joy of live entertainment through this captivating show.”

Writer and actress Emma Dears added: “It is with pure excitement that we can take Judy and Liza’s emotional and iconic story on the road. As performers, we crave being in front of a live audience – seeing, hearing and feeling their reactions, it gets no better than that. Whether you’re a fan of Judy or Liza, or both, their story is unique. The show is full of love, heartache, and passion, and Helen and I have worked tirelessly to make sure we get every tiny detail just right. Join us for an evening with the mother and daughter who really did put the ‘show’ into showbiz.”

What do critics have to say about the show? Here’s a selection:





Thursday 20 May 2021 at 7.30pm Swan Street, Leeds, LS1 6LW

Website: Box Office:      0113 243 0808

All photography by Andrew AB.

Adam Kershaw

Adam combines his interest in Leeds with a flair for writing discovered back in school days. He says he'll tackle any topic as long as it's Leeds.

Do you have a story to tell?
We want to hear your stories and help you share them.