http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/lorna-luft-over-the-rainbow_us_576dffa3e4b017b379f616e8Lorna Luft surprised fans at a Wednesday concert in New York with her first-ever live performance of “Over the Rainbow,” a song made famous by her mother, Judy Garland.

The singer-actress, 63, told the crowd at Feinstein’s/54 Below that she’d never performed the song “not because it was too hard for me emotionally, but because I always felt you can’t improve on perfection.”



Pointing to the June 12 mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, Luft added, “I thought to myself, if I’m ever going to sing this, now is the time.” (Don’t miss the incredible performance in the video above)

Luft’s decision to introduce the “Wizard of Oz” classic into her concert repertoire had personal significance, too, as June 22 marked the 47th anniversary of Garland’s death at the age of 47.

A beloved gay icon, Garland is often culturally linked to the 1969 Stonewall riots, which are considered the symbolic start of the modern-day lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights movement. The riots themselves took place in the early morning hours of June 28, less than 24 hours after Garland’s funeral and memorial services were held in Manhattan.

“My mother would have loved the fact that people fought back, because she hated bigotry, and she hated injustice,” Luft told the crowd. “And don’t ask how much she would’ve loved that rainbow flag!”