Just back from END OF THE RAINBOW

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thetinymagic2
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Just back from END OF THE RAINBOW#1
Posted: 3/19/12 at 10:50pm
fabulous!

Walk-In: 75% full. Half oldsters/half the JUDY fanatics. Good buzz.

Intermission: Fantastic buzz.
End: Fanatical immediate 100% standing ovation w/encore.

If they didn't know who Tracie Bennett was going in, they LOVED her now!

Her performance is NOT imitation, but inimitable, not camp, but definitely over the top, but I think, in a great way. One has to remember that this i NOT a JUDY concert, impersonation, etc. It is a play - fictional/partly based on truth, following a very narrow coupla months of Judy's life. It is a tour de force performance like nothing Ive ever seen. Physically amazing, musically amazing, dramatically soo interesting to watch. Some may think it's waay overwrought - however everyone's entitled to their opinion. Her COMPLETE energy onstage is absolutely amazing, The character of Mickey Deens is completely underwritten (but who cares?), MIchael Cumpsty as the piano player was wonderful as usual. It's not a pretty pix of the last months of JUDY's life, but Traci portrays this singular person as multi faceted as anyone can be. I lost it during the scene before she sings "The Man that Got Away", and the singing of that song (end of Act!) Stunning.

This is a showcase for Tracie Bennett's unbelievable talent.



























Updated On: 3/25/12 at 10:50 PM
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Just back from END OF THE RAINBOW! #2
Posted: 3/19/12 at 10:54pm
Interested to hear what you thought of the show and Miss Bennett's performance.
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thetinymagic2
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Just back from END OF THE RAINBOW! #2
Posted: 3/19/12 at 10:57pm
Thanks, MATT/ (I just got home and have to do some chores first).
I never seriously "review" shows before 2 months running, but I will impart some thoughts on the audience, the vibe, glitches, and m overall impression.

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PalJoey
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Just back from END OF THE RAINBOW! #3
Posted: 3/19/12 at 11:07pm
I want to know if she's really, truly good. Good enough for a lifelong Judy fan who hates to see gratuitous Drunk Judy representations?

Is she better-than-Judy-Davis good?

If enough people tell me, "No, really, she's THAT good," I will be open-minded.

One of my friends is texting me now. He's become a convert.
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Michael Bennett
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Just back from END OF THE RAINBOW! #4
Posted: 3/19/12 at 11:28pm
It's a great performance- yes Judy Davis good and maybe even better since Miss Bennett actually does her own singing- to devistating effect- thank you very much. The play too often falls into the trap so many biography plays do,with lines and characters often existing a little too squarely for anecdotal recitative, and a clunky conclusion that screams of creative laziness-- but Bennett gives a living and breathing portrait of Garland that is equal turns electric, pathetic and moving. It's an almost exhaustive virtuoso performance that left much of the audience pretty enraptured. I imagine a Tony win would be well within reach- even with the Play itself not being more stellar.

EDIT-- While of course I wasn't surprised to see a sea of gay men at tonights preview- I found myself fascinated by how many were quite young- one boy sobbing through the final scene of the play to my right couldn't have been more than 20. Fascinating to see the Garland mystique carrying on when I thought to a large degree her synonymous association with the gay culture was largely resigned to an older generation.



Updated On: 3/19/12 at 11:28 PM
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Just back from END OF THE RAINBOW! #5
Posted: 3/19/12 at 11:57pm
just to add on to tinymagic's post. the mic cord bit was in the show when i saw it twice when visiting London last year. it was part of the bit because Judy's a bit 'out of sorts' in that scene due to the lack of 'stimulants'. so unless something has changed... that is supposed to be there.

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Just back from END OF THE RAINBOW! #6
Posted: 3/20/12 at 12:03am
I was gonna say/ the bit with the mic cord looked scripted to me. I didnt really notice any tech glitches tonight- it seemed to run fairly smoothly.
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Just back from END OF THE RAINBOW! #7
Posted: 3/20/12 at 12:10am
Yep. The mike "bit" is built into the show.

Agree about "The Man That Got Away". Stunning.

Gotta go back.

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thetinymagic2
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Just back from END OF THE RAINBOW! #8
Posted: 3/20/12 at 12:14am
the mic bit...well done, then!

Also, my fave "bit" in the show -- the "DOG" thing! OMFG hilarious!
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Just back from END OF THE RAINBOW! #9
Posted: 3/20/12 at 12:35am
I thought the show was numbingly awful. It isn't boring - Bennett gives a powerhouse performance but the play itself is cliched garbage that revels in Garlands descent into a pill-induced mania. It's might well have been written by the National Enquirer. The Mens room line at intermission was telling - lots of dumbfounded stares and unimpressed shrugs. But there were lots of audience members practically peeing themselves screaming ovations at the curtain call.

While Bennett sings Garland stunningly well, her acting is a mannered, overblown mess - arms flailing, bouncing up and down onstage as if she were love child of Betty Hutton and Mick Jagger, crawling on the floor like a dog, screaming for pills and booze. Tommy Femia does Garland with more finesse and more importantly, with more affection. THE END OF THE RAINBOW never explains why Garland was so extraordinary - it's just paper-thin tripe that shows little more than the old 'bat**** crazy addict that just "wanted to be loved"'.
"Hurry up and get into your conga clothes - we've got to do something to save this show!"
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Just back from END OF THE RAINBOW! #10
Posted: 3/20/12 at 1:01am
THE END OF THE RAINBOW never explains why Garland was so extraordinary

Well to be fair, that's not the point of the play. It's not about what made Garland so special. It's a play about the last few months of her life.

Tommy Femia does Garland with more finesse and more importantly, with more affection.

This is blatantly untrue.
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Just back from END OF THE RAINBOW! #11
Posted: 3/20/12 at 1:17am
Was there tonight, too. Didn't plan on going until this morning. Eighth row center and I gotta' tell you... this is THE PERFORMANCE of the season. One that will be remembered for a long time.

Ms. Bennett doesn't do an impression of Garland, it's not a characterization, it's hard to describe... it's almost as if you're watching the real Judy Garland. It doesn't sugarcoat anything and doesn't hold back. One can imagine that yes, this was what Garland was in 1968 (when the play takes place) and you will understand why people were attracted to this woman. The performance will floor most people and her performances of Garland's most famous songs will blow you away. But it's that performance that is so layered and textured.

Simply STUNNING. I'm sure some will take issue with the play and maybe even the portrayal of Garland, but this is THE ONE you should see this year, without a doubt. Don't wait! Go now.
The number of people who will not see a show they don't want to see... is unlimited. Oscar Hammerstein
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Just back from END OF THE RAINBOW! #12
Posted: 3/20/12 at 1:23am
I usually do not chime in during previews (or much at all if I dislike something) --- however ---
I found it to be an offensive mess. This is like watching a sensationalistic bad E Hollywood true story about Lindsay Lohan or something. I'm sorry, but we've all seen and heard enough stories and treatments of Judy Garland. If you're gonna put up a new one, it should have something new and insightful to say, or at least rehash an old insight in a fresh and honest way. This show is pure garbage. The performance sections seem to be randomly selected, and uncomfortable. And as much as everyone says "a star is born" with Tracie Bennett - Judy deserves more respect than this hacked up portrayal (if one could call it that). Fine, show us the ugliest part of someone's life - but have a reason for doing it, and at least have the courage to perform it with some nuance and grace. With no insight into the downfall, it just feels like we're watching a plane crash with morbid curiosity.
I felt dirty when I left. And not in a good way.
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Just back from END OF THE RAINBOW! #13
Posted: 3/20/12 at 1:24am
"bouncing up and down onstage as if she were love child of Betty Hutton and Mick Jagger"


On a side note, if only there had been such a love child.
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Just back from END OF THE RAINBOW! #14
Posted: 3/20/12 at 1:27am
I was at tonight's first preview as well and while Tracie Bennett is amazing, the show is awful! The set is awful and makes no sense, the costumes are awful and wrong and the man that plays Mickey Deans is horrible! He ruins every scene he's in! This show is insulting to true Judy Garland fans. Lots of walkouts at intermission, I was sitting near the producers/creatives and they absolutely took notice of the empty seats at the top of act 2.
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Just back from END OF THE RAINBOW! #15
Posted: 3/20/12 at 1:41am
Funniest patron question of the night (from some very ancient geezers), (to the infra red guy): "Is there dialogue in this show?"
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Just back from END OF THE RAINBOW! #16
Posted: 3/20/12 at 4:54am
Yes the mic cord is scripted. I saw it several times. The UK audiences came out loving Judy even more, if that's possible, and grieved even more for her demise at such a young age.
In the last months of Judy's life some audience booed her off as she was so bad on stage. It wasn't all sweetness and success at that point
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Just back from END OF THE RAINBOW! #17
Posted: 3/20/12 at 5:06am
I'm not quite sure what qualms you could have with the costumes since they were all pretty much recreations of the outfits Garland actually wore during that engagement in London. And I'm sorry even mentioning Tommy Femima in the same sentence as affection and finesse as far as Garland is concerned is completely eyebrow raising
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Just back from END OF THE RAINBOW! #18
Posted: 3/20/12 at 7:26am
Sounds like exactly what I expected: a showcase for Tracie Bennett at the expense of the life and talent of Garland herself, devoid of insight, no intention of respect, only condescension and melodrama masquerading as compassion.

Also, my fave "bit" in the show -- the "DOG" thing! OMFG hilarious!

I doubt it will be mine.
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Just back from END OF THE RAINBOW! #19
Posted: 3/20/12 at 7:29am
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Updated On: 3/25/12 at 07:29 AM
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Just back from END OF THE RAINBOW! #20
Posted: 3/20/12 at 7:38am
the play itself is cliched garbage that revels in Garlands descent into a pill-induced mania. It's might well have been written by the National Enquirer.

Best review in this thread and echoes what I've been feeling about show all along. PASS.

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Just back from END OF THE RAINBOW! #21
Posted: 3/20/12 at 7:43am
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Updated On: 3/25/12 at 07:43 AM
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Just back from END OF THE RAINBOW! #22
Posted: 3/20/12 at 8:06am
Michael Bennett, this 20 year old sobbed reading your comment about the 20 year old sobbing. I do think your right about Judy's prominence in gay culture not necessarily connecting with the majority of my generation. I worry that many of my peers have no respect for the icons of the past, or the past itself. It's sad to see a lack of appreciation for our rich history as a community. However, there are many of us out there who still feel such strong admiration for Judy. I likely won't be able to get to New York until the fall, but I really want to see this, so I certainly hope it runs!
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Just back from END OF THE RAINBOW! #23
Posted: 3/20/12 at 8:06am
I think the play for all it's flaws- and there are many- is well meaning- I actually felt its intentions were ultimately in the right place-it would be impossible to dramatize the last days of Garland and not depict the sad addicted little creature she had become at that point in her life (if you haven't seen it already, I'd recommend the 1970 documentary about this very engagement in London).

A lot of the material in the play is pulled directly from the countless biographies of Garland (that lack of imagination is one of my gripes with the piece overall - but probably a slight vindication for the playwright against those who might be feeling like some of the events in the play are exploitative).

I actually noticed that nowhere does the script ever mention Lorna, Liza or Joey (legal issues?) but most of the depictions otherwise seem fairly consistent with whats already been written about Garland during this time in London.

But I do think the playwright is attempting to capture some of the "why" behind Garlands desperation- certainly her vulnerability and need to be loved are adressed in the scenework and are very evident in Bennett's performance. The writing isn't great but I personally wouldnt say this is only a cheap attempt to exploit the Garland story- trust me I've seen those plays that have had that agenda and this doesn't come close.










Updated On: 3/20/12 at 08:06 AM
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Just back from END OF THE RAINBOW! #24
Posted: 3/20/12 at 8:33am
I too saw it last night and have to agree with Michael Bennett. The biggest problem I had was with Tracie's voice quite often sounding like Katherine Hepburn. But, AMAZING energy and quite a talent. Off to work now but I'll write more later