End of the Rainbow has come to the Music Theater of Connecticut in Norwalk. The play chronicles the final comeback of screen and singing icon Judy Garland. The play written by Peter Quilter opened in the West End of London in 2010 and was the winner of several Olivier Awards. It opened on Broadway in 2012 and also was the recipient of several Tony nominations as well as Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards. MTC is now proud to stage the first New England production of this play.
The setting of the play is in London in 1968 as Judy Garland and her fiance and soon to be fifth husband Mickey Deans, arrive for a five week run of shows that they hope will pull Judy’s career out of its spiral of bad press and her battles with addiction. The play is staged in her suite at the Ritz Hotel in London and onstage at the Talk of the Town where the audience is entertained by a number of standards including, “For Me and My Gal”, “You Made Me Love You (I didn’t want to do it)” and “Over the Rainbow”. Joining Judy for her tour is her adoring pianist and arranger, Anthony who despite his sexuality is in love with Judy and wants to take her away from her young fiance whom he perceives to be an opportunist.
The two act play which moves back and forth between the theater and the hotel room reveals to the audience Judy Garland’s struggles with alcohol, pills, and the reality that her shining star is not as bright as it had been. As Judy spirals out of control during the 5 week run of her stage comeback, she manages to upright herself and finish her performance. The play is an emotional roller coaster for the audience as we see the struggles and successes of such a famous star.
The production features Colleen Sexton as Judy Garland and she delivers an emotional performance which captures the spirited and spunky character of Judy Garland. Her vocal performances were outstanding and did not attempt to mimic Judy, but instead capture the raw energy and vitality of her style. The audience was thrilled and rose to a standing ovation.
Luke Darnell portrays Mickey Deans her fiance, and delivers a fine performance as the character tries desperately to keep Judy on track and away from her addictions. Thomas Conroy who plays Anthony her pianist is impressive as he has dual roles as her pianist and as her friend and adoring fan. A complex role which he handles well. He brought heartfelt emotion to the role. Matt Densky has the task of three roles including Hotel Porter, BBC Radio Interviewer, and Stage manager and he shines especially in the role of interviewer.
The director (and co-founder) is Kevin Connors, who has brought to the area a memorable production that stays with the audience long after the curtain call. The set design (Jordan Janota) is effective in using the small intimate stage to effectively convey the feeling that you are in two separate locations.
Please don’t miss this show. End of the Rainbow runs April 7-23, Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 4pm & 8pm, Sundays at 2pm.
Note: Adult content and language. Running time is approximately 2 hours and 10 minutes.
Tickets are $30-$55. Reservations suggested.
http://www.musictheatreofct.com tel. 203.454.3883
Music Theater of Connecticut
509 Westport Avenue Norwalk Ct.
photo credits: Music Theater of Connecticut
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