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End of the Rainbow: Lisa Maxwell Interview

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by Tony Collins (subscribe)
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Daytime TV Presenter Takes On The Challenge of Judy Garland
From being a star of daytime television Lisa Maxwell is taking on the huge challenge of stepping into the shoes of the legend that is Judy Garland.

Lisa, who is probably best known as one of the regular panellists on ITV's Loose Women, is starring as Judy Garland in hit stage show End of the Rainbow.

Lisa Maxwell, End of the Rainbow
Lisa Maxwell stars as Judy Garland in End of the Rainbow (credit Pamela Raith Photography)

Although she previously appeared as Samantha Nixon in ITV's The Bill for seven years until 2009, Lisa is making her stage acting debut in End of the Rainbow, which includes a run at the Lichfield Garrick theatre in May.

She says: "As a fan of Judy myself, I want to do her justice. Die-hard Judy fans know everything about her, so I hope that with this play we're giving them what they know and love.

Lisa Maxwell
Lisa Maxwell swops Loose Women for stage acting debut

"I'm absolutely in love with Judy, and I feel very protective of her at the moment. The thing I think I'm most worried about is really giving people what they expect, because there'll be a lot of Judy Garland fans in the audience.

"For those who aren't fans, we're telling a sometimes funny, sometimes touching story of a woman with a serious addiction."

The play takes place in 1968 in a hotel room, where the once-glittering star is preparing for a string of comeback performances with her devoted accompanist, Anthony, and her new fiancι, Mickey.

Lisa Maxwell, End of the Rainbow
The play depicts Judy Garland struggling to make a comeback (credit Pamela Raith Photography)

So, what does Lisa think of Judy's relationship with the principal characters in her life at this time?

"I know at times she behaved appallingly towards other people, but she had no idea of how to love or be loved because she was never shown. Her relationship with Anthony is one that she's comfortable with because he's just there to serve her. Even though he's a gay man, there's a lot of chemistry between them, and he's partly there to represent her love for her audience.

"With Mickey Deans, on the other hand, she has quite a volatile relationship, although she's very much in love with him. I think he loves her too, but as a frustrated musician, he's nonetheless aware of the opportunities that being married to her can bring him."

Gary Wilmot
Gary Wilmot co-stars in End of the Rainbow

Lisa, who will be starring alongside musical theatre legend Gary Wilmot and former Hollyoaks actor Sam Attwater, has been working hard to prepare for her role as Judy.

She adds: "I've been seeing a vocal coach for a few months. She wasn't at the top of her game towards the end, but the one thing that she was always able to do was to turn it on and make magic happen onstage.

"I'm not allowing myself to say, 'Oh, it doesn't matter if you can't sing it, because she was at the end of her life'. I'm not taking that easy way out.

Lisa Maxwell, End of the Rainbow
Lisa Maxwell performs some of Garland's great hits in the show (credit Pamela Raith Photography)

"I want to give the character as much depth as possible. It's important to say that this is a play with songs rather than a musical, so we're trying to tell a very truthful story that's wonderfully punctuated with all these moments where we see her in concert. I hope that people see her vulnerability, as well as how absolutely hilarious she was."

End of the Rainbow, which premiered at the Sydney Opera House in Australia in 2005, features Judy Garland's most memorable songs such as The Man That Got Away, Come Rain Or Come Shine, The Trolley Song and Somewhere Over The Rainbow.

End of the Rainbow runs at the Lichfield Garrick from Monday 16 May to Wednesday 18 May at 7.30pm.

Lichfield Garrick
Lichfield Garrick expecting big audiences when End of the Rainbow comes in May

Tickets cost from £17.50 and can be booked online at or by calling the Box Office on 01543 412121.

For further information about the tour visit

Remaining tour dates

Tue 1 – Sat 5 March AYLESBURY Waterside Theatre

Tue 8 – Sat 12 March BROMLEY Churchill Theatre

Tue 15 – Sat 19 March TORQUAY Princess Theatre

Tue 22 – Sat 26 March WINDSOR Theatre Royal

Tue 29 March – Sat 2 April BRIGHTON Theatre Royal

Tue 5 – Sat 9 April MALVERN Festival Theatre

Mon 18 – Wed 20 April WOLVERHAMPTON Grand Theatre

Tue 26 – Sat 30 April GLASGOW King's Theatre

Tue 3 – Sat 7 May MANCHESTER Opera House

Mon 9 – Wed 11 May BILLINGHAM Forum Theatre

Thur 12 – Sat 14 May SHEFFIELD Lyceum Theatre

Mon 16 – Wed 18 May LICHFIELD Garrick Theatre

Thur 19 – Sat 21 May NEWCASTLE Tyne Theatre & Opera House

Tue 24 – Sat 28 May RICHMOND THEATRE

Tue 31 May – Sat 4 June BURY ST EDMUNDS Theatre Royal

Tue 7 – Sat 11 June WOKING New Victoria Theatre

Tue 14 – Sat 18 June HIGH WYCOMBE Swan Theatre

Tue 21 -Sat 25 June BIRMINGHAM New Alexandra Theatre

Tue 5 – Sat 9 July CHELTENHAM Everyman Theatre
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Why? See The Heart-Warming Story Of Judy Garland's Comeback
When: 1 March - 9 July 2016
Phone: 01543 412121
Where: Lichfield Garrick, Castle Dyke, Lichfield, Staffordshire WS13 6HR
Cost: £22.50 adults, £17.50 students
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