Best Play Miami 2014 - End of the Rainbow
The Actors' Playhouse's End of the Rainbow was a funny and heartbreaking antidote to the stale formula of the Judy Garland musical revue. Moreover, it satisfied criteria for both best play and best musical of the year, encompassing the crackling dramatic exigencies of the former and the seemingly unpredictable cabaret atmosphere of the latter. Mostly, though, it was a bold look at faded glory — that of Garland, once the biggest star in the world, reduced at the end of her truncated life to insecure pill fiend, alcoholic, rotten friend, and erratic, occasional nightclub singer, when she wasn't too doped up to put one foot in front of the other. The perfectly diminutive Kathy St. George captured Garland's charms as well as her demons, and Colin McPhillamy exuded initial warmth and finally tragic pathos as her longtime pianist, a loving man ultimately crushed by the oblivious Garland steamroller. Director David Arisco handled the shifting genres with ease, especially the play's transitions from hotel room to nightclub — complete with a live onstage band — which never ceased to dazzle.