Tuesday, April 3, 2012

End of the Rainbow Opens on Broadway

Some people never die even after they die.  One of those people is Judy Garland, whose life story continues to be told on film and TV, and in the theater.  A new play about her life, End of the Rainbow, opened last night at the Belasco Theatre to some strong reviews.  Ben Brantley of the New York Times described the show by saying, "As befits a play about Judy Garland, a woman known for liberally mixing her pills, Peter Quilter’s “End of the Rainbow” is a jolting upper and downer at the same time. After watching Tracie Bennett’s electrifying interpretation of Garland in the intense production that opened on Monday night at the Belasco Theater, you feel exhilarated and exhausted, equally ready to dance down the street and crawl under a rock." Reviews relatively uniformly praise Ms. Bennett's performance in the show as one of the strongest in memory -- giving, in the words of Mr. Brantley again, "one of the most complete portraits of an artist I've ever seen.  What Ms. Bennett is doing transcends impersonation."  That Bennett's co-stars Tom Pelphrey (as Garland's fifth husband Mickey Deans) and Muchael Cumpsty (as Garland's pianist) hold their own and can get good notices is high praise for not only the actors but also director Terry Johnson, who won a directing Tony in 2010 for the revival of La Cage Aux Folles.  I have already predicted Ms. Bennett for a best actress nomination, but I may have to revise my list to include Messrs Johnson, Pelphrey, and Cumpsty.

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