May 5, 2022

Opera Mississippi Features “Over The Rainbow” at Thalia Mara Hall

Nicole Kral

Opera Mississippi presents “Over The Rainbow” at 7:30 p.m. Monday, May 16, at Duling Hall, 622 Duling Ave. The sixth installment of the Duling Hall Cabaret Series sponsored by Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi stars Melanie Gardner as Judy Garland and The Tyler Kemp Trio. Advance tickets may be ordered online at for $30. Remaining tickets will be on sale at the door for $35.

For four decades, Judy Garland dazzled both the stage and screen with her iconic voice and girl-next-door charm. In a staged tribute to her life, audiences will hear some of her most well-known and beloved songs intertwined with stories of Garland’s life. Experience her triumphs and tribulations. Feel the inspiration she gave to fans of all ages in every authentically vulnerable performance. See the life of one of Hollywood’s brightest stars retold by singer Melanie Gardner.

“Judy Garland was a legend. I am incredibly honored and excited to portray her with Opera Mississippi,” says Gardner about her involvement with the show.

Gardner first performed with Opera Mississippi as a young artist while attending the University of Southern Mississippi as a graduate student. A truly multi-faceted singer, she performs opera, musical theater, jazz, blues, and contemporary genres both on the mainstage and off in concerts throughout the southeastern United States. Some of her mainstage roles have included: the title role of Suor Angelica, Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus, Beggar Woman in Sweeney Todd, Mrs. Ham in Noye’s Fludde, and Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast. During her years living in New Orleans, Gardner fronted her own jazz band and performed with the New Orleans Opera Chorus. As a member of the original New Orleans band, The Asylum Chorus, she recorded two full-length original albums and performed at Voodoo Fest, French Quarter Fest, and Preservation. Gardner currently makes her home in Denton, Texas, teaching private voice and musical theatre classes while pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Mobile.

“Part of Opera Mississippi’s mission is to support young and regional artists who are either from Mississippi, living and working in Mississippi, or who have attended Mississippi schools, colleges, or universities. We are excited to engage artists, like Melanie, and bring talented artists who create memorable shows for Mississippi audiences!” says Executive Director, Stacey Trenteseaux.

The final performance of Opera Mississippi’s 76th season, “Lady Sings the Blues,” showcases Rhonda Richmond, Mississippi artist, singer, songwriter, arranger, and instrumentalist. For more information on tickets to this and the entire Opera Mississippi season, visit or call 601.960.2300.

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