International City Theater Celebrates 30 Years with Opening of “End Of The Rainbow”

Columnists, Kim's Kronicles — By on April 30, 2015 at 1:35 am

Cover and Inside Photo- Gigi Bermingham. Photo by Kim Webster.

By Kim Webster

London, England 1968 – Judy Garland (played by Gigi Bermingham) arrives at the Ritz hotel, scheduled to perform several shows at the “The Talk of the Town” venue.  After entering their hotel suite Judy tells her fiance’/manager Mickey Deans (played by Michael Rubenstone) that there’s something unfamiliar with the suite, but he insists that everything is fine.  She wants a drink but Mickey is adamant when he tells her no booze, pills or anything else.  He wants her to fulfill the contracted performances he has booked for her, now that he has “cleaned her up” from her addictions. Piano player Anthony (played by Brent Schindele who is also the play’s music director) doesn’t trust Mickey’s motives and makes this known to Judy.

London radio interviewer (played by Wallace Angus Bruce) is anxious to talk with Judy but her attention seems elsewhere during the session.  As time passes she tells Mickey she does not want to continue performing. She says that during her childhood her Mother endorsed the practice of the movie studio providing pills to keep her awake to perform and pills that would make her sleep.  There is a touching moment when Anthony is applying her makeup telling her he loves her, and understands her plight.  But Mickey keeps her on the performance rollercoaster which leads to her untimely demise.

Judy Garland.

Ms. Bermingham channels Judy’s mannerisms so well during her singing performances that it seems as if Ms Garland is actually on stage!  Audiences will enjoy favorites including “The Trolley Song,” Come Rain Or Come Shine,” and “The Man That Got Away.”  “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” made tears well up in this reporter’s eyes.  Memories of watching the Emmy nominated Judy Garland Show in the 60’s, marveling at her tailored wardrobe, and the way she poured her every emotion in performing were overwhelming.

Singer, actress Judy Garland was beloved by her fans worldwide.  After her death on June 22, 1969 many accounts were written about her struggle with drugs, alcohol, depression, and personal problems.  In spite of these demons Ms Garland was an outstanding performer who left a legacy of movies and musical recordings.  Her signature movie of 1939 the “Wizard of Oz” is a favorite for many generations.  “End of the Rainbow” not only spotlights her struggles but also reveals Judy’s desire for a peaceful, quiet life.  One can only hope that her spirit found eternal peace…

Peter Quilter’s play “End of the Rainbow” is produced by caryn desai (also artistic director) and directed by John Henry Davis.  “End of the Rainbow” premiered at the ICT Theatre, Long Beach Performing Arts Center 330 E Seaside Way, Long Beach CA.

Comments are closed.