by Julian, New York Guest Concierge
End of the Rainbow, which has hopped across the pond for it’s NYC debut, reveals how our worship and fascination of icon Judy Garland became too much for her to contend with. As we watch this very personal depiction we are shown her character in its entirety. No stone is left unturned as we see our beloved star in every compromised twist and turn of the plot. In the first act we find Ms. Garland in dire and yet extravagant circumstances, having gone through 4 husbands and now with her new fiancé Mickey Deans, Garland is out of money but not able to escape the life she has built around herself. Throughout the show we see a woman who cannot control her environment, but as the icon she has bec0me cannot escape her surroundings either. So we watch those around her try to keep her together.
She seems to desperately want a break from her life and yet can’t give up the love of her fans, the lavish hotel rooms, the men who both adore and abandon her and paramount to all of that are the drugs. We are told her mother was feeding her pills since the beginning of her career and that for the last 15 years she has been working 14 hours a day 7 days a week starting at 5 a.m. She is now too entwined in a web that the director suggests is more her last husband and mother’s fault then her own. In any case, Garland cannot bring herself to leave the web even when her pianist, Anthony, played by Michael Clumptsy, invites her to live with him. Her newest husband-to-be, now also her manager, is in control of her decisions.
In End of the Rainbow, we are given many opportunities to consider what really led to the unraveling of Judy Garland’s life. It seems her need to be loved overshadowed everything she did. The love ended up being just as much of a drug as all the other things she was addicted to. The lines of her personal and professional life fully blur when she gives up on stage and even curses the audience that loves her so before leaving the stage. We watched her joy and her struggles but mostly the latter. From the scenes of her nearly jumping out of her hotel suite window to the intimate moments she shared with her pianist. When asked if she missed any of her other 4 husbands she said she misses the love. It seems Ms. Garland was always in search of love.
As the play points out Judy’s fan’s like to watch her rise and fall to which Ms. Garland answers “That’s what I do.” It is also what Bennett does in her performance and I certainly enjoyed watching this talented actress as she embodied Judy Garland’s glamour and star power as well as the manic and raw reality of her life.
Garland says near the end of the play that she sings for others and she will stop when the public no longer wants to hear her voice. As ideal as that all sounds the plays tension is centered on Garland struggling to meet the standard she has set up for herself now that she is no longer able to sing and perform the way she once did without the drugs that keep her going. As she admits when she says, “It’s a terrible thing to know what you’re capable of and to never get there.”
With one of the most acclaimed performances of the year from the astounding Tracie Bennett, this is one not to miss! Contact us for your tickets.