End of the Rainbow to close on Broadway

Tracie Bennett in End of the Rainbow Tracie Bennett was Tony nominated for her role in the play

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End of the Rainbow, the critically praised drama about the last days of Judy Garland, is to close on Broadway.

The show, which sees Olivier Award-winner Tracie Bennett reprise her role from a West End production, began on 19 March at the Belasco Theatre.

Last month, producers extended the show's run to January 2013, however it will now close on 19 August after a total of 176 performances.

Bennett earned a Drama Desk Award and was Tony nominated in the role.

Set in December 1968, the show follows the Wizard Of Oz star as she prepares for a series of performances at a London club.

It features some of Garland's most memorable songs including The Man That Got Away, Come Rain or Come Shine and Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

The musical first played in Australia in 2005, but the current production originated in Northampton before transferring to London and later to New York.

Bennett was born in Lancashire and played Sharon Gaskell in Coronation Street before establishing a career in musical theatre, with roles in High Society, Les Miserables and Hairspray, for which she won an Olivier award.

The success of End Of The Rainbow has seen her profile rise in the States.

Her performance was described by the New York Times critic Ben Brantley as "one of the most complete portraits of an artist I've ever seen".

Although it will be close early on Broadway, it will play from 12 March - 21 April 2013, at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, with Bennett reprising her role.

Producers said a national tour was also being planned and a film adaptation, also starring Bennett, was currently in development.

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