State Theatre Company South Australia will pay tribute to Judy Garland in the 50th anniversary year of the star’s death with End of the Rainbow at the Royalty Theatre in June as part of Adelaide Cabaret Festival.
Starring Helen Dallimore (the original Glinda in the West End production of Wicked) as Garland, Peter Quilter’s electric story tracks the star’s final months as she prepares for a series of concerts in London alongside her fifth husband/nightclub promoter Micky Deans (Nic English) and accompanist Anthony (Stephen Sheehan).
The 2005 play, on which the upcoming film Judy (starring Renée Zellweger) is based, is stitched through with 10 of Garland’s greatest songs such as Over the Rainbow, Get Happy and The Man That Got Away. Brightly funny and deeply moving, the show is not only a testament to Garland’s incredible star power but also a poignant exploration of the dark side of fame.
Making her directorial debut is State Theatre Company Resident Artist Elena Carapetis, the playwright behind last year’s critically-acclaimed The Gods Of Strangers. “The act of recreating part of the life of a much beloved figure, an icon, is a huge responsibility,” she says.
“I am honoured that performing powerhouse Helen Dallimore said yes to the role of Ms Garland. She has been simply extraordinary to work with and watch, as have Nic English, Stephen Sheehan and the entire team. State Theatre Company South Australia is a very special place – full of people with real hearts, brains and courage. It’s been a huge privilege to direct my first main stage play for them,” added Carapetis.
Coincidently closing on the 50th anniversary of Garland’s death (22 June), End of the Rainbow features elaborate set and costume design by State Theatre Company’s resident designer Ailsa Paterson, a five-piece live band under the musical direction of Carol Young and lighting design by Mark Pennington.
Dallimore, who last performed with State Theatre Company in Masquerade, says she is thrilled to step into Garland’s shoes. “I’m honoured to be given this opportunity to play Judy Garland, the most iconic popular singer in history, a genius musician with a huge heart that seemingly broke every time she sang for us,” says Dallimore, who won a Helpmann Award for her performance in Legally Blonde the Musical and recently starred in Muriel’s Wedding the Musical.
“I’m thrilled, also, to return to State Theatre Company South Australia and Adelaide Cabaret Festival under the direction of Elena Carapetis, who I know will bring this show all the sass and heart it deserves.”
Peter Quilter is a West End and Broadway playwright whose plays have been translated into 27 languages and performed in over 40 countries. Peter has twice been nominated for the Olivier Award (Best New Comedy and Best New Play) and his Broadway debut was nominated for 3 Tony Awards. His works include Glorious!, Duets, Just the Ticket, Boyband and 4000 Days.
Director: Elena Carapetis Featuring: Helen Dallimore, Nic English, Eddie Morrison, Stephen Sheehan Musical Director: Carol Young Musical Arrangements: Andrew McNaughton Musicians: Eddie Morrison,Warren Heading, Tom Pulford, Thomas Voss, Steve Todd Designer: Ailsa Paterson Lighting Designer: Mark Pennington Sound Designer: Andrew Howard Assistant Director: Adriana Bonaccurso
End of the Rainbow
Royalty Theatre, 65 Angus Street, Adelaide
Season: 4 – 22 June 2019 (previews: 31 May – 3 June)
Information and Bookings: www.statetheatrecompany.com.au
Image: Helen Dallimore stars in End of the Rainbow – photo by James Hartley