The word “icon” is tossed around pretty freely, but it’s pretty safe to say that Judy Garland was, and is, one.
She was described by Fred Astaire, no slouch himself, as the greatest entertainer that ever lived. More than 40 years after her too early death at the age of 47, her art and her life, fueled in part by drugs, alcohol, and unhappy relationships, remain fascinating to us.
End of the Rainbow, about the final months of Garland’s life, opened last Friday at the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre. The 2005 play by Peter Quilter had a long run in London’s West end, a Broadway run in 2012, and has been performed in many other playhouses around the world.
Quilter reflects on why he wanted to write about Garland at the end of her career.
"Not only do you have that really dramatic, compelling situation, and a fascinatingly complex woman, but you also have an opportunity to bring all her music into the show and to see her perform and to hear those songs," he says.
The Milwaukee production is directed by the Rep’s Mark Clements, and stars Chicago-based actress Hollis Resnik.
End of the Rainbow runs through February 9th in the Powerhouse Theatre.