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Welcome back: Two CRANDIC theater companies return to the stage this weekend

Revival Theatre Company Presents: End of the Rainbow

Thursday, Oct. 14-Sunday, Oct. 17 — CSPS Hall, $25-47

Run of the Mill Theatre Presents: Arcana

Friday and Saturday, Oct. 15-16 — Artifactory, $10


Janelle Lutz as Judy Garland in ‘End of the Rainbow.’ — via Revival Theatre Company

It is late 1968 and Judy Garland is in London — in large part because her erratic behavior and performances have made it difficult for her to perform in the United States. She is preparing for a five-week run at the Talk of the Town cabaret club. And she’s remembering better times.

That’s the story Revival Theatre will unfurl in its production of Peter Quilter’s 2005 musical End of the Rainbow, which runs Oct. 14-17 at CSPS Hall in Cedar Rapids. The musical is directed by Revival Theatre’s Brian Glick and stars Janelle Lutz, an actress from New York who has a long history of playing Garland in various productions — and who is also working on her own Judy Garland show.

The four-person cast also includes local actors Jim Vogt and David Morton as well as New Yorker Trevor Martin as Garland’s accompanist, Anthony.

The performances mark the company’s first indoor, in-person presentations since the beginning of the public health emergency (the show in fact had originally been scheduled for last year and was, of course, postponed). Revival Theatre stayed active with two virtual concert performances during 2020, and they were an essential part of the triumphant Brucemorechestra performance on the lawn at Brucemore with Orchestra Iowa this September.

End of the Rainbow delves into the difficulties Garland experienced late in life related to addiction, financial problems, and more, but also celebrates her incredible talent.

In an interview with KCCK, Glick called Garland, “the ultimate one-of-a-kind performer,” and suggested that what makes End of the Rainbow compelling is that it is “a unique, unknown story about a well-known individual.”

A portion of the audience for the performance will be seated at tables cabaret-style, though limited tickets remain for those seats. The $250 cabaret tables include wine, chocolate and seating for two to four. Other seats remain available, however, and are $25 for students and veterans, $35-47 general admission.

Also this weekend, an Iowa City company marks its return to the physical stage. Run of the Mill Theatre Productions pushes forward without its titular venue (the Iowa City icon that was The Mill closed in 2020), offering its first in-person performance in nearly two years.

The company will perform John Longenbaugh’s 2010 Arcana, its first play at the ArtiFactory (120 N. Dubuque St, Iowa City). The show is a collection of short plays based on some of the major arcana figures in the tarot deck — the cards represented include The Empress, The Lovers, Temperance, The High Priestess, The Star and The Moon, with cast sizes ranging from solo pieces to five-handers. Rich LeMay, Andrew Cole, Logan Natvig and Nat V. Black direct.

Tarot readings and other “mystical happenings” are promised to audience members before and after each performance. Run of the Mill will hold a costume contest for attendees at the Saturday night show. Arcana will be performed Oct. 15 and 16 at 7:30 pm and tickets, which are $10, will be available at the door.

As events inch back toward normalcy in Eastern Iowa, it is worth noting that masks are required for both productions. Revival’s Health and Safety Protocols also note that it is a fully vaccinated company, adding that “All workers and ushers will be vaccinated. As a member of the audience, we strongly encourage you to do the same.”


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