The name Judy Garland for many may capture an image of the youthful, vibrant young actor with a powerhouse voice that donned sparkling red shoes as Dorothy Gale in the seminal 1939 film THE WIZARD OF OZ. Peter Quilter’s play END OF THE RAINBOW, now in a production at Porchlight Music Theatre with direction from Michael Weber and a compelling and beautifully realized performance by Angela Ingersoll as Garland, pulls back the curtain and shows us a haunted and broken woman nearing the end of her career. The play’s depiction of Judy Garland plagued by the demons of her past and struggling with alcoholism and a dangerous addiction to prescription medication makes the case that END OF THE RAINBOW is a timely play to mount, even as it also allows us to remember Garland’s glorious song catalog and the glamorous vaudeville tunes for which she was known.
Month: November 2016
Now making its national touring and Chicago debut, FUN HOME is a lovely and genuinely original new musical based on the eponymous graphic memoir by Alison Bechdel. It’s worth noting that the show’s name comes from the fact that the Bechdel family business, was indeed, a funeral home in the small town of Beech Creek, Pennsylvania. But it also underscores that this is a show in which Alison must confront the memories of her father and “straighten” out the fun house mirrors of her past to try to make sense of it. Many readers will also know that FUN HOME won the 2015 Tony Award for Best Musical and was notably the first show with an all-female writing team (composer Jeanine Tesori and librettist/lyricist Lisa Kron) to win that award.