Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Train Wreck Judy Depicted in "End of the Rainbow"
Right after a screening of Young Adult starring the beautiful Charlize Theron, the woman next to me leaned over and asked what I thought of the film. I replied that it is always difficult to watch a train wreck, referring to the delusional character Mavis who just cannot get herself together. A similar feeling overcame me watching Peter Quilter's End of The Rainbow during a recent preview on Broadway.
The year is 1968. Judy Garland and her new young manager/fiancee Mickey Dean have just arrived in London to do a five week comeback run at The Talk of the Town. Judy has significant debt and needs the money. While he seems to have an agenda, Mickey (initially) tries each day to get Judy to abstain from alcohol and popping just about any drug so that she can complete the run. In between the struggle, the audience witnesses Judy's wit and portions of her show at The Talk of the Town.
The talented and petite Tracie Bennett who plays Judy in End of the Rainbow gives the most energetic female performance I’ve seen on Broadway in recent memory. However, while we constantly witness Judy’s self destruction (the train wreck) and hear her music, we do not walk away from the theater feeling her soul, understanding her core. There is a moment in End of the Rainbow when Judy laments having potential but never quite living up to it. Unfortunately, that’s the problem with End of The Rainbow.