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Come Rain or Come Shine: Tracie Bennett’s “End of the Rainbow” Arrives From Masterworks Broadway

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“After watching Tracie Bennett’s electrifying interpretation of [Judy] Garland in the intense production that opened Monday night at the Belasco Theater, you feel exhilarated and exhausted, equally ready to dance down the street and crawl under a rock. In other words, you feel utterly alive with all the contradictions that implies,” The New York Times’ Ben Brantley about the performance at the center of Peter Quilter’s play End of the Rainbow. This fictionalized look at Judy Garland’s final months opened last week on Broadway following an acclaimed run in London’s West End, and got audiences talking once again about the legendary performer. The play allows for the performance of a number of songs associated with Garland, contrasting a mini-concert with offstage scenes in a London hotel room. Whether you agree with David Finkle’s assessment in The Huffington Post that the show is “character assassination” of a beloved star, or with Brantley’s ruminations, most critics were convinced that Tracie Bennett as Garland took the stage by storm. She netted an Olivier Award for her trouble, and a Tony Award nomination indeed looks possible. Now, those who can’t make it to the Belasco can enjoy one part of the show, thanks to Masterworks Broadway’s reissue of the 2011 Original Cast Recording of End of the Rainbow, subtitled Tracie Bennett Sings Judy.

Released last year on First Night Records to coincide with the London engagement, the End of the Rainbow album features Bennett singing twelve Garland classics backed by the production’s six-piece band under the baton of Gareth Valentine. (Not all of the twelve songs are actually heard in the play, however.) Masterworks’ 2012 edition features new artwork related to the Broadway production but contains the same core twelve tracks as the British edition, dropping the U.K.’s bonus track of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” performed as a piano solo. In addition to that immortal Harold Arlen/E.Y. Harburg song, you’ll hear Bennett take on five other Arlen classics: “I Could Go On Singing,” from Garland’s final film and also co-written by Harburg; “Come Rain or Come Shine” with a Johnny Mercer lyric; “When the Sun Comes Out” and “Get Happy,” both with Ted Koehler lyrics; and of course, “The Man That Got Away,” the torch song to end all torch songs co-written by Arlen and Ira Gershwin from the 1954 film of A Star is Born.

There’s more after the jump, including track listing and order link!

A couple of medleys incorporate more popular standards and Garland favorites (“I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” and “Just in Time,” and “For Me and My Gal/You Made Me Love You/The Trolley Song”) and Bennett also takes on “When You’re Smiling,” “San Francisco,” “Zing! Went The Strings of My Heart” and Charlie Chaplin’s “Smile.” The New York Post’s Elisabeth Vincentelli noted that Bennett “doesn’t give a note-for-note imitation” but rather “makes us understand the combustible mix of ego and self-doubt that made Garland such a fascinating performer, simultaneously professional and unhinged.”

If you’re interested in taking an intense trip to the End of the Rainbow with Tracie Bennett, this collection is available in stores now from Masterworks Broadway. Whether you’re seeking a souvenir from the Broadway production or interested in hearing another take on the titanic talent of Judy Garland, this release might make a fine companion to the recent reissues of vintage material from the legend herself. You can order at the link below.

Tracie Bennett, Songs from End of the Rainbow and Other Garland Classics (First Night Records CASTCD 110, 2011 – reissued Masterworks Broadway, 2012)

  1. I Can’t Give You Anything But Love/Just in Time
  2. I Could Go On Singing
  3. Smile
  4. Medley (For Me and My Gal/You Made Me Love You/The Trolley Song)
  5. Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart
  6. The Man That Got Away
  7. Come Rain or Come Shine
  8. When You’re Smiling
  9. Over the Rainbow
  10. San Francisco
  11. When the Sun Comes Out
  12. Get Happy/By Myself

Written by Joe Marchese

April 12, 2012 at 14:38

2 Responses

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  1. There has been rather intense reaction to the show, and I intend to make up my own mind when I see it on April 24th. In a word, any door into the life and career of Judy Garland is worth opening. Yes, the show depicts the sad end of her life, but her last months were sad. The fact that they are not a pretty sight to see does not make them any less part of the history of Garland. Those who don’t want to acknowledge this are wearing rose-tinted glasses. They are pretending to protect the sacro-saint image of Garland, when in fact they cannot grasp that Judy was a complex figure, and not just Dorothy or a Carnegie Hall album. I, for one, am interested in all of Judy Garland, for better and for worse.

    Lawrence Schulman

    April 12, 2012 at 15:55

  2. Why listen to Tracie when you can hear the original?


    April 12, 2012 at 16:48

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