In an industry where some years there aren’t even enough leading roles for women to fill a category—something which basically never happens to the men—nothing makes me happier than a season full of powerhouse female performances. This was one of those seasons. And my favorite powerhouse of the year? Brit Tracie Bennett, making her Broadway debut as Judy Garland in End of the Rainbow.
Watching Tracie’s performance was like being pulled under by an unexpected wave, pinned down, tossed about and ejected on the shore, gasping for air and scraped raw. At the end of the show, audience members around me wondered aloud how she could possibly pull it off 8 times a week. I nodded in silent agreement.
Equal parts calculating and impetuous, gleeful and distraught, anchored to this world and desperately lost at sea, her Judy held me captive for a full 130 minutes, and her painful, quiet final moments broke my heart.
And just when I didn’t think I could love her anymore,Tracie went to the Drama League Awards and told everyone about her British childhood spent wearing stars and stripes and being called “The Little Yankee” and I melted inside and she for sure, for SURE snagged the Tony of My Heart forever. It’s not nearly as beautiful as that badass necklace she’s wearing up there. But I think it’s kind of neat.