GYPSY, the tale of an ambitious stage mother fighting for her daughters’ success, based on the true story of the famous striptease artist Gypsy Rose Lee and her sister actress, June Havoc, opened Saturday at Cahn Auditorium in Evanston for a short run (August 19 through 27).
The Music Theater Works production directed by Rudy Hogenmiller is the perfect pairing of what’s been called one of the greatest musicals ever written—Jule Styne (Music) Stephen Sondheim (Lyrics) and Arthur Laurents” (Book) GYPSY and the powerful pipes of gifted and beloved actress Mary Robin Roth (Mama Rose) who would have made Ethel Merman, who played the role on Broadway in 1959, proud.
Backed by the outstanding 25-piece Music Theater Works orchestra, conducted by music director Roger L. Bingaman, Cahn Auditorium was aglow with the sounds of GYPSY’s memorable score featuring classic songs including “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” “Let Me Entertain You” and “Some People.”
The talented cast, including Roth, was a delight to watch. The transformation of the beautiful Lexis Danca, (Baby June’s older sister Louise) from the shy awkward girl she once was to the confident Gypsy Rose Lee was magical. Russell Alan Rowe’s Herbie, was as likeable as ever. Rosie Jo Neddy (Baby June), fresh out of Northwestern University’s theater program–having graduated this June is a force to watch while Clayton Cross (Tulsa), who played duel roles as actor and choreographer, knocked it out of the park with his song and dance number–“All I Need is the Girl.”
The design/production team of Joe C. Klug (scenic), Jeff Hendry (costumes), Andrew H. Meyers (lighting), Aaron Quick (sound), Shannon Rourke (stage manager) and Katie Beeks (production manager) added the perfect finishing touches to the entertaining Music Theater Works (formerly Light Opera Works) production of GYPSY.
Rating: 3 out of 4 stars
When: Wednesday, August 23, at 2 pm; Thursday, August 24, at 2 pm; Friday, August 25, at 8 pm
Saturday, August 26, at 8 pm; Sunday, August 27, at 2 pm.
Where: Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson Street, Evanston, IL
Tickets: Tickets start at $34. Ages 25 and younger half-price are available online or by calling (847) 920-5360.
Running time: Act I, One hour and 15 minutes, Act II, One hour and 10 minutes with a 15 minute Intermission.
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Filed under: Theater in Chicago