‘End of the Rainbow’ to close on Broadway ‘End of the Rainbow’ to close on Broadway
Broadway’s “End of the Rainbow” will have its final performance at the Belasco Theatre on August 19. The musical began previews on March 19,... ‘End of the Rainbow’ to close on Broadway

Broadway’s “End of the Rainbow” will have its final performance at the Belasco Theatre on August 19. The musical began previews on March 19, 2012 and officially opened on April 2. By the end of its Broadway run, “End of the Rainbow” will have played 176 performances.

“End of the Rainbow” premiered at the Sydney Opera House in 2005 and played on London’s West End from November 2010 to May 2011.

This biographical musical narrates the last days of Judy Garland. The show explores her drug addictions, mental illness, and relationships before she succumbed to an overdose. Theater is Easy describes the show as, “…a compelling and epic journey exploring one woman’s battle against backsliding and bad habits. It tackles addiction, depression, and devotion of Olympian scale.”

Judy Garland is played by Tracie Bennett. English born Bennett garnered Olivier Awards for her performances in both “She Loves Me” and “Hairspray.” For her portrayal of Judy Garland in “End of the Rainbow,” she received a 2012 Drama Desk, an Outer Critics Circle Award, and a Tony Award nomination.

Matt Windham of AM New York said of Bennett’s performance, “Bennett successfully walks the fine line of convincingly portraying Garland’s larger-than-life, bizarre behavior without making it feel like a campy parody…her Garland is also poised, witty and emotionally longing for some stability.”

The rest of the cast is rounded out by Michael Cumpsty (Anthony), Tom Pelphrey (Mickey), and Jay Russell (Performer). Michael Cumpsty was nominated for his performance in a 2012 Tony Award for Featured Actor.

Terry Johnson, who received a Tony Award for his work on “La Cage aux Folles,” directed “End of the Rainbow.” Peter Quilter wrote the book for the musical. Other members of the creative team include William Dudley (set and costume design) Christopher Akerlind (lighting design) and Gareth Owen (sound design).

The musical production features such songs as “The Man That Got Away,” “Come Rain, Come Shine,” “Dancing in the Dark,” “I Can’t Give You Anything but Love, Baby,” and “Over the Rainbow.”

In an interview with Theatermania.com, Tracie Bennett had admiration for her cast. She stated, “They were all ‘off book’ pretty much on the first day of rehearsal and have brought total commitment and their own decisions about their characters to the floor, which I had to willingly adapt to…their support is invaluable and therefore it feels like a total ensemble piece. They have all raised my ballgame as an actress and a person. I can’t quite believe how well this has all turned out.”

On March 12, 2013 through April 21, “End of the Rainbow” will begin performances at the CTG/Ahmanson Theatre. A national tour is in the works. Also, Bennett will star in the upcoming film adaptation of “End of the Rainbow.”

David Sheward of Backstage writes, “Director Terry Johnson skillfully balances the hyped-up confrontations with the quieter interludes, and Jeffrey Saver’s musical direction gives us a first-rate concert along with the story line.”

Theater is Easy heaps accolades on Bennett. The review states, “It impossible to decide whether Bennett shines brighter in her nuanced scene work or her exuberant musical numbers. One thing is clear, though: Bennett’s Judy is both a flawless characterization and dramatic performance that leaves audiences mesmerized and cheering for more!”

To view the schedule for the final performances of “End of the Rainbow” visit the play’s official website.

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By Michelle Houle

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