Broadway regulars like Joel Grey, Oskar Eustis, Richard Kind and Stacy Keach turned out en masse Monday night at the Belasco Theater to welcome Tracie Bennett to the Great White Way as she made her debut in “End of the Rainbow,” the tragedy with music about the last days of Judy Garland.
Bennett received the usual standing ovation and flowers after singing the show’s finale (care to guess which song was used?), and then silenced the crowd with a rendition of “By Myself.”
Tom Pelphrey, who plays Garland’s fifth husband, said the final months of the singer’s life, while tragic, were still a source of inspiration. “Somebody like Judy Garland, even without her full faculties, to still put on a show at a 110%, to make a crowd just go insane; We all love a comeback story,” he said.
Co-star Michael Cumpsty said of Garland’s life: “It’s just the trajectory she had. She started out so young, so talented, so beautiful. Her early performances are so natural and unguarded. But I just don’t think she ever learned how to be a normal person.”