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CD REVIEW: End of the Rainbow

Producers: Chris Egan &Gareth Valentine

Musical Arrangements: Chris Egan

Conductor: Gareth Valentine

Reviewer: Lizzie Yoxall

[Rating:3.5]

Anyone walking into a room and hearing this CD for the first time without seeing the cover could arguably believe they are listening to a Judy Garlands greatest hits CD, but in this case the mix of well known jazz standards are from the CD Songs from End of the Rainbow Tracie Bennett sings Judy. The accompanying recoding to the musical drama by Peter Quilter

Set in the time leading up to the icons death in 1963 the plot revolves around Judy’s stay in a London hotel as she prepares for her up and coming show ‘Talk of Town’ with which she hopes to rekindle her flagging career. With her is new fiancé Mickey Deans and her pianist and close friend Anthony. The show explores Judy’s relationships with these two men while she struggles with the bad press, drugs and alcohol that are now a part of her life.

Every song is recognisable and there is a nice combination of the musical theatre classics performed by Judy throughout her career and the swing and jazz numbers of her late performances at venues such as Carnegie Hall. With the exception of a beautiful instrumental version of Over the Rainbow played by Simon Lee, all songs are performed by Tracie Bennett.

There is a good mix of both upbeat and mellow numbers all performed in the big band style which gives a pleasant common thread though out the recording. Credit must be given to the musicians who are as much part of this CD as Tracie Bennett and produce wonderful atmospheric music.

Tracie Bennett, nominated for a Tony Award for this performance as Judy Garland, does every number justice and has a beautiful and strong contralto voice. She does a fine job at emulating the unmistakable style required for this rôle. While hard core Judy fans would probably rather listen to an original recording of the lady, this is a lovely CD to listen to and a good choice for anyone with a love of musical theatre or big band jazz.

End of the Rainbow is available to purchase from First Night Records

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The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. We aim to review all professional types of theatre, whether that be Commercial, Repertory or Fringe as well as Comedy, Music, Gigs etc.