Los Angeles Run of End of the Rainbow, Starring Tracie Bennett as Judy Garland, Opens March 20
By Adam Hetrick
Following acclaimed London and Broadway engagements, Tracie Bennett reprises her performance as a late-in-life Judy Garland in Peter Quilter's End of the Rainbow, which officially opens March 20 at the Ahmanson Theatre after previews that began March 12.
Tony Award-winning La Cage aux Folles director Terry Johnson, who helmed the London and Broadway productions, returns with the original creative team for the Center Theatre Group engagement, which will run through April 21.
Bennett is joined in Los Angeles by her original Broadway co-star Michael Cumpsty, who earned a Tony Award nomination for portraying Garland's sympathetic pianist Manny, a character created by playwright Quilter. The production also features Erik Heger ("One Life to Live," "As the World Turns") as Garland's last husband (Mickey Deans) and Miles Anderson in a variety of roles.
Quilter's play about the final days in the life of the iconic entertainer is studded with Garland's signature songs, including "Come Rain or Come Shine," "The Man That Got Away" and "Over the Rainbow," all of which are performed live by Bennett and a band. The actress earned acclaim for her tireless performance as Garland last season on Broadway. The play arrived in New York following a London run and a U.S. premiere at the Guthrie Theatre last winter.
End of the Rainbow features set and costume design by William Dudley, lighting design by Christopher Akerlind and sound design by Gareth Owen. Orchestrations are by Chris Egan, with arrangements by Gareth Valentine. Jeffrey Saver, who musical directed and led a six-piece band on Broadway, returns for the Ahmanson engagement.
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."
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."
View video highlights from the Broadway production:
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