End of the Rainbow

Though Judy Garland was born in Grand Rapids, her connection to our state could be fairly defined as negligible. Garland's family did, after all, pack up for California when the future star of stage and screen was only a child. Even so, many Minnesotans tend to count Garland as one of our own. Perhaps the affinity can be attributed to the rural wistfulness of her iconic role as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. Or perhaps the sepia-toned myth of Midwest innocence just heightens the pathos of a Hollywood tragedy. Whatever the explanation, her association makes the Guthrie Theater an ideal spot for the U.S. premiere of playwright Peter Quilter's End of the Rainbow. A vividly imagined swan song of sorts, End of the Rainbow finds Garland struggling to reclaim a stardom tarnished by personal demons and substance abuse. Rather than dwelling on tabloid sensationalism, however, Quilter's script utilizes an emotional intimacy to reclaim Garland from the reductive clutches of celebrity caricature. The effect is further assured by Tracie Bennett, whose lead portrayal proved a sensation in London's West End. Supported by an onstage band, Bennett's acclaimed performance pairs drama with song, running through a catalog of Garland's most revered standards. End of the Rainbow is slated for a Broadway debut later this year, so the Guthrie run feels all the more like a fitting tribute to a legendary performer's humble beginnings. $29-$67. Call for showtimes. 818 S. Second St., Minneapolis; 612.377.2224. Through March 11
Saturdays, 1 p.m.; Tuesdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Sundays, 1 & 7 p.m. Starts: Jan. 28. Continues through March 11, 2012

 
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