I MC’d a Talkback after last night’s performance of End of the Rainbow, in which Tracie Bennett gives a volcanically energetic performance as declining legend Judy Garland.
And as herself, Tracie was raw, insightful, and very funny.
When asked about her career, she joked, “I started as a hooker!”
She also made remarks about knowing a whole lot of addicts.
But mostly she was sincere, probing, and informative, as when she talked about not nabbing the Tony award for her performance.
It happened when an audience member blurted, “I can’t wait till you win the Tony!”
Tracie shot back, “I lost!” and we all had a giggle.
She went on to say that it’s absurd to compare the different nominated performances unless all the actresses are playing the same role.
She added that she got to know Nina Arianda (who won the award for Venus In Fur) and she felt similarly about the weirdness of such a competition.
(They grew to really like each other, by the way.)
It’s an apples and oranges kind of thing, said Tracie, and you should be gracious when you win because it’s good for the project, but it’s weird when some people want to win so badly.
“I’m friends with Andy Roddick, ” she said, “and if he doesn’t win, there’s no talking to him for two weeks.
“But sportspeople have to have that. They need that competitiveness to do what they do.”
I noted that Tracie was very classy to go to the Tony after party anyway.
There was booze, she noted, laughing–plus she had a great gown courtesy of a big fashion editor.
In another highlight from the Talkback, Tracie talked about how someone recently told her, “You must have been beautiful when you were young!” (People say the dumbest things sometimes.)
I also asked if Liza Minnelli should go see the show (which is closing August 19, by the way).
“That’s a hard one,” Tracie said. She could see both sides of it, but said it’s awful to have a mother who became an addict and it would probably be difficult to witness that onstage.
In any case, I’m going again. The next Talkback is August 7. See you there!