Since her endearing role as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz back in 1939, Judy Garland won the hearts of millions, cementing her as a much-beloved icon throughout her entire career. An image marred only by her ongoing struggle with an addiction to drugs and alcohol throughout that career.
End of the Rainbow illustrates her later years and the months leading up to her death in 1969. It’s December 1968, Garland is in London and about to make her comeback…yet again.
With both her young fiancé Mickey Deans and her adoring, loyal accompanist, Anthony, she fights to revive her sagging career and tarnished reputation.
Angela Ingersoll has garnered abundant praise for her portrayal of Judy Garland, including a Jeff Award nomination, a Time Out Chicago Award nomination and“Top Performances of the Year” honors from both The Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times.
Representing such an iconic character as Judy Garland on stage is a challenge to be sure. Ingersoll discussed what she did to transform herself as she portrayed this complex character.“This may sound strange, but my greatest challenge in performing this play was prioritizing self-care, and by self-care, I mean sleep. This is a leave-it-all-on-the-stage sort of role.”
“Yet, you’re on the hook to get right back in the ring before you know it and duke it out all over again. It’s a role that requires great stamina and my preparation time for each show is important. So, I may mindfully dig in and pull back the slingshot and then, once we’re up and running, wham!”
She opined further about the play itself, “The show is one hell of an exciting ride full of surprises—a whirlwind if you will—with Judy’s formidable winds filling your sails. You really get to flying high and I’m absolutely buzzing at show’s end. Once I hit the wings, I quickly kiss the nearest theatre wall in a kind of prayer, amazed and grateful that we somehow did it once again, all of us. Then begins the process of riding my adrenaline back down to Earth. I must allow that fantastic and volatile inner life of hers to get some rest. I must take care, so that the phoenix is always ready to rise again.”
As to what she hopes audiences will take away from the show and her performance,“I do not assume to prescribe an expected outcome forthe audience. I will say, the journey of this show is a glorious yet painful one and individuals must process their experience of that pain for themselves.”
Finishing beautifully with these sage words,“I do hope audience members find their experience to be an opportunity to cultivate greater peace with their own pain. Because you know, none of us has a monopoly on heartache. Hopefully through laughter and music we can, all of us, feel less alone.”
When asked to share her insights about Judy Garland and some things that most might know about her, Ingersoll offered these insights.
“I do quite a lot of concert work and I encourage the audience to ask me anything about Judy. I believe I can address just about anything they want to discuss, lovingly, respectfully and candidly. What I find myself realizing, the more I tell folks about the many, many facets of Garland, is that our Judy was a genius.”
Ingersoll explained further,“Her radiant humor is a tell-tale sign, as well as her cunning facility with language…She was a great raconteur. I think Judy’s great artistry is evidenced not only in her performance techniques, but in the way she lived her life. She was so very present, always. That bewitching ability to invite you to ‘the now,’to never give up on that moment, I think, is her genius.”