NEW YORK (AP) — Playing Judy Garland doesn't come without the occasional criticism, but Tracie Bennett seems to take it all in stride. The actress portrays the legendary singer on Broadway in "End of the Rainbow."
The Tony Award-nominated Bennett, who on Sunday lost out on the trophy for best lead actress in a play to Nina Arianda, said she understands the protectiveness that Garland fans have. "It's fabulous," she said.
Last week, the New York Post reported that a fan accused the actress of lip-syncing during the performance. But that doesn't affect Bennett, who said she knew what she was getting herself into when she accepted the part.
"I've approached the piece not thinking if they loved it or hated," Bennett said on the red carpet before the show. Sunday marked what would have been Garland's 90th birthday.
Overall, she said, the Broadway audience has embraced the show like the ones did in London: "They stand up. They cheer. They move."
Her co-star, and fellow Tony nominee, Michael Cumpsty, said the show leaves most people cheering, but is not surprised by a little controversy.
"Judy Garland pulls out these amazingly subjective visceral responses from people. And we have people coming who are in love with what we're doing and think that Tracie is Judy Garland," he said. "And we have people that think Tracie is not Judy Garland. It's very bizarre and very subjective."
Bennett said her friends have sent her some of the nasty comments on Twitter. "I will take criticism quite well," she says. How does she cope? A nice cosmo and a cigarette.
John Carucci covers entertainment for The Associated Press. Follow him at http://www.twitter.com/jcarucci_ap