The Queensland premiere of Peter Quilter's acclaimed production, End of the Rainbow, will take Brisbane audiences on a dramatic journey following the rise and fall of superstar Judy Garland.
Starring powerhouse actor Christen O'Leary as Judy Garland, End of the Rainbow is exclusive to Brisbane from 2-24 March 2013 in The Playhouse, Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC).
Directed by David Bell, End of the Rainbow paints a warts-and-all picture of the beloved but tortured musical icon, her strained relationships with men, her struggle to stay in the spotlight and the pill habit that would eventually claim her life.
After a show-stopping turn in Queensland Theatre Company's (QTC's) smash hit production of Bombshells last year, Christen O'Leary has been brilliantly cast to fill Judy's Ruby Slippers and explore the dark side that worldwide fame can bring.
"Christen O'Leary as Judy Garland will take audiences on an incredible, moving journey. She will take you on an adventure full of joy, celebration, soaring songs and dark moments of regret. It is a show that you will never forget, a world class production that will raise the roof off The Playhouse," said QTC Artistic Director Wesley Enoch.
The show is set at Christmas 1968 and Judy Garland is not in Kansas anymore. The former child star is shacked up in London's Ritz Hotel with fiancé number five, Mickey Deans, and her loyal friend and pianist, Anthony.
A whirlwind success in her youth, the years have been unkind. As her finances crumble, her celebrity status continues to fade and the press savagely turns on her, Garland is clutching at the straw she thinks will save her career; a five-week run of cabaret shows at 'The Talk of the Town' nightclub.
QPAC Chief Executive John Kotzas believes this QPAC and QTC collaboration with David Bell will be one of the highlights for theatre in Brisbane for 2013.
"Judy Garland spent her entire life entertaining people. Our fascination with her infinite talent is matched by our fascination with her personal life and struggles.
"The 20th century produced hundreds of great artists but few who so consistently and so genuinely connected with their audience that their legacy has not only endured but continues to expand. Judy Garland's body of work is stunning in its range and her influence is immeasurable, she has left a permanent imprint on our understanding of what it means to be a star. This is a great show about a great artist," said Mr Kotzas.
This extraordinary, Tony nominated musical drama is thrilling, hilarious, moving and tragic. End of the Rainbow features a live six piece band and includes 12 of Judy Garland's most memorable songs such as, The Man That Got Away, Come Rain or Come Shine, The Trolley Song and of course Somewhere Over The Rainbow.
Tickets on sale 15 November 2012; to book go to qpac.com.au or call 136 246.
Queensland Performing Arts Centre and Queensland Theatre Company present End of the Rainbow by Peter Quilter.
Director: David Bell
Designer: Bill Haycock
Lighting Designer: David Walters
Musical Director: Andrew McNaughton
Cast: Christen O'Leary, Hayden Spencer and Anthony Standish
Tickets*: $35 to $80. Bookings: qpac.com.au or 136 246. *Ticket price includes GST and Booking Fee. Please note transaction fees may apply.