By Joseph Marzullo
20 Aug 2012
Tony Award-winning La Cage aux Folles director Terry Johnson staged the production that began performances on March 19 and opened to solid reviews — blazing for Bennett — April 2. Upon its closing, End of the Rainbow played a total of 176 performances on Broadway.
Bennett's tireless turn earned her the 2012 Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, and Theater World Awards, as well as a 2012 Tony Award nomination as Best Actress in a Play. Bennett also earned an Olivier Award nomination for her portrayal of Garland in the London production.
The production will play the West Coast March 12-April 21, 2013, at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles. A post-L.A. tour is in the works, and a film adaptation starring Bennett is being developed.
Bennett led a cast that featured 2012 Tony Award nominee Michael Cumpsty (The Constant Wife, Democracy) as Garland's accompanist, Anthony, with Emmy winner Tom Pelphrey ("Guiding Light") as her husband, Mickey Deans, and Jay Russell (Our Town, The Play What I Wrote) in a variety of roles.
Music director Jeff Saver led a six-piece on-stage band, backing Bennett throughout the evening with arrangements faithful to Garland's originals. Bennett delivered such Garland signatures as "The Man That Got Away," "Come Rain or Come Shine" and "The Trolley Song" during the performance. The production received its U.S. debut at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis prior to Broadway.
According to the producers, "End of the Rainbow is set in December 1968 and Judy Garland is about to make her comeback... again. In a London hotel room preparing for a series of concerts, with both her new young fiancé and her adoring accompanist, Garland struggles to get 'beyond the rainbow' with her signature cocktail of talent, tenacity, and razor-sharp wit. This savagely funny drama offers unique insight into the inner conflict that inspired and consumed one of the most beloved figures in American popular culture. End of the Rainbow features some of Garland’s most memorable songs, performed with the show-stopping gusto for which she will always be remembered."
End of the Rainbow was produced on Broadway by Lee Dean, Laurence Myers, Joey Parnes, Ellis Goodman, Chase Mishkin, Shadowcatcher Entertainment/Alhadeff Productions, National Angels U.S. Inc., Charles Diamond/Jenny Topper, Myla Lerner/Barbara & Buddy Freitag, Spring Sirkin/Candy Gold, Hilary Williams, and S.D. Wagner, John Johnson, in association with Guthrie Theater.
The album "Tracie Bennett Sings Judy: Songs from End of the Rainbow and Other Garland Classics" is available on Masterworks Broadway.
The production featured set and costume design by William Dudley, lighting design by Christopher Akerlind, arrangements by Chris Egan. Kate Wilson was voice and dialect consultant.
Bennett previously worked with Johnson in the London revival of La Cage aux Folles. She earned Olivier Awards for her performances as Velma Von Tussle in Hairspray and as Ilona Ritter She Loves Me. Her stage credits also include Les Miserables and Cash On Delivery. Numerous screen appearances include "Vincent," "The Long Firm," "Heroes and Villains," "Next of Kin," "Coronation Street," "Going Out," "Shirley Valentine," "Knights and Emeralds" and "Deep Red Instant Love."