End Of The Rainbow 2023

Opera House, Wellington

17/02/2023 - 18/02/2023

Production Details

Play by Peter Quilter
Produced by Tania and Dave Parker (Pinana Productions Ltd)
Directed by Jeff Kingsford-Brown

Tania and Dave Parker (Pinana Productions Ltd)

On at The Wellington Opera House (17-19 Feb, 2023) 3 shows only
Fri 17 Feb 7:30pm
Sat 18 Feb 7:30pm
Sun 19 Feb 4:00pm

Tickets from TicketMaster (https://www.ticketmaster.co.nz/end-of-the-rainbow-by-peter-quilter-tickets/artist/2901202#about)

Adult $59-$79, Senior / Child $49, Groups 5+ $53.10-$71.10
SPECIAL 2 for 1 TICKETS running on all 3 shows

Judy Garland is staying in The Ritz with young fiance Mickey Deans and loyal friend and pianist Anthony, preparing for her comeback with ‘Talk of the Town’ over six weeks in 1968.

She is determined to bring back the magic, and secure her place as one of the greatest and most idolised entertainers of all time, after a string of bad press and struggles with addiction. With Mickey Deans, her devoted new flame at her side, what could possibly go wrong?

Ali Harper as Judy Garland
Glenn Horsfall as Micky Deans
Tom McLeod as Anthony
Kevin Orlando as Assistant Stage Manager / Porter

Musical Director - Tom McLeod
Bass and Deputy Musical Director - Nick Tipping
Drums - Mike Jensen
Trumpet - Vaughn Roberts
Saxophone - Bryn van Vliet
Trombone - Mark Davey
Cello - Nathan Parker

Marketing Lead - Aimée Sullivan
Marketing Support - Ali-Cat Productions Ltd
Stage Manager - Jen Petrovich
Assistant Stage Manager s - Victoria Cosgriff and Maizie Kingsford-Brown
Set design and costume design and Dresser - Ian Harman
Film and Sound - Kevin Orlando
Lighting Designer and Operator - Jeff Hewitt and Riley from Metro Productions
Fight Coach - Rick Stemm
Stage Manager - Jen Petrovich
Accent Coach - Kevin Orlando and Sherene Clarke
Assistant to the Music Director - Nathan Parker
Photography - Alex Rubina
Backstage / Photography - Carl Johnstone
Set Build - Billy Fitzpatrick

Special Thanks - Senuka Sudusinghe, Felicity Cozens, Talia Carlisle, Nick and Angela Swan, Amy Sullivan, Karen Moreau, Deb McGuire, Ben Emerson

Theatre ,

2hr 10m (with a 20 minute interval)

A potent, frenetic, heart-wrenching and often humorous gift

Review by Jo Hodgson 18th Feb 2023

Say the name Judy Garland and the majority of us will see a young Kansas lass and her little dog singing about her dreams beyond the rainbow, or maybe a fresh-faced Esther Smith riding on that clanging trolley.

I have to confess that aside from her journey over the rainbow, being a Hollywood film star, mother to Liza Minnelli and a tormented figure later in life, I don’t know very much about Judy Garland.

Peter Quilter’s award-winning musical play, End of the Rainbow, takes us on Garland’s tumultuous journey – with her fiancé, Mickey Deans, and pianist, Anthony – of her comeback ‘Talk of the Town’ tour in London before the end of her life in 1969.

Jeff Kingsford-Brown adroitly directs this potent, frenetic and often humorous script, all the while illuminating the struggle of a mis-understood star addled by a history of substance abuse and manipulation by those around her.

The majority of the action takes place on a beautifully designed set (Ian Harman) of a suite at the Ritz, interspersed with electrifying performances from the concert tour. The lighting design (Jeff Hewitt/Riley Gibson) is gorgeously effective with a progressive rainbow colour palette of vertical light drops which highlight Judy’s exquisite frocks (created by Ian Harman).

Ali Harper is quite simply phenomenal as Judy Garland. She manages to completely embody the physicality, mannerisms and vocals of this hugely complex and damaged woman.

Ali has the ability to wear characters like a second skin. I am mesmerised by her powerful, feisty and vulnerable portrayal, sometimes within the same paragraph, and then singing the house down with Garland styled inflection, tone colour and star quality.

The rapport between the three main performers is wonderful. Judy/Ali is supported by the passionate, yet controlling Mickey (Glenn Horsfall) and the loyal, dry humoured Brit pianist, Anthony (Tom McLeod) with Kevin Orlando adding in a few cameo roles.

They all deliver this story with pathos and the necessary truth to allow us to enter into the world, but while we laugh, we also cry at the desperateness of it all.

Judy Garland had such a unique voice and the music is an essential part of this play’s storytelling, whether a full rendition of a song, or just a snippet.

Musical director Tom McLeod’s character Anthony leads the exceptional band and is equally at home tinkling solo on the ivories or giving an energetic downbeat to swing them all into the mix. The sound is rich and full and they, with Ali, soar their way through songs like, I can’t give you anything but love, When you’re Smiling, Come Rain or Come Shine. These are contrasted with the heart-wrenching The Man that got away and the magical Over the Rainbow.

What a gift to learn a little more about this extraordinary artist, a woman who in spite of being revered and loved by adoring fans ultimately left this world like the words in this final song:
   And I’ll face the unknown, I’ll build a world of my own
   No one knows better than I myself
   I’m by myself alone, I’ll go, I’ll go by myself alone.


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