Judy Garland, Beyond the Gingham - NBC Southern California

Judy Garland, Beyond the Gingham

"End of the Rainbow" imagines the icon during her big comeback



    Judy Garland, Beyond the Gingham
    Carol Rosegg
    Tracie Bennett in stars as Judy Garland in "End of the Rainbow," a play with music. It opens on March 20 at the Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre and continues through April 21.

    Many stars are remembered for a breakout movie or even for a breakout year, a stretch of time when everything went their way and they solidified their place in the public eye.

    But Judy Garland? Like Elvis and other icons -- even Marilyn, say -- people tend to remember her in two periods of her life: the 1930s and the 1960s.

    This isn't to say that the hardworking, supernaturally talented actress and singer wasn't living life during those other periods, but the mind alights on sweet Dorothy Gale in her gingham dress and the older Ms. Garland of the variety show period, when she faced numerous personal battles and yet held her own with sass and grace.

    "End of the Rainbow," the new play written by Peter Quilter, pictures the sassy and struggling Ms. Garland as she tries for her comeback circa 1968. The work, which includes music, opens at the Ahmanson on Wednesday, March 20.

    Tracie Bennett stars as the storied star.

    The play takes place in a hotel room in London as the singer prepares for a number of shows. Fizzy and funny, Ms. Garland banters with a paramour and her accompanist. It's the star that so many people remember from live appearances from the late '60s, the won't-back-down, I'll-be-damned-if-I'm-not-having-a-ball Judy. Bouffant hair, wry smile, no gingham in sight.

    Some showstoppers are promised, too. The play, which is directed by the Tony-winning helmer Terry Johnson, belts it out big-style through April 21.

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