Sunday, May 06, 2012

"The End of the Rainbow"

If you've read anything about this show - playing at the absolutely gorgeous Belasco Theatre - you've probably read about Tracie Bennett's powerful performance, which many are saying could win her this year's Tony.  True, her portrayal of Judy Garland during her last series of concerts is thrilling, but it's not enough to overcome the fact that the play itself is rather insubstantial.

With all the drama surrounding Judy's last months - the pills, the booze ("Whenever I drink water, I always feel I'm missing something."), the gold-digging younger fiance, more pills - you'd think it would be hard to make a play as uni-dimensional as this.  But they managed somehow.

Some of the fault lies with writer Peter Quilter, though I place far more of the blame at the feet of director Terry Johnson, who has created some abrupt transitions in the performances, so that his actors suddenly blow up in rage with no truly adequate motivation for doing so.  Garland was an addict, but she wasn't stupid or crazy.  Bennett has the Garland poses down, as well as the vocal tics, but ultimately she can't transcend the plodding clumsiness of the production.

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