Wow! Wow! And Wow! Again.
“Gypsy” at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre opened to a full house on March 23rd and will run through April 9. Tickets start at $56 and are going fast so get online at www.jupitertheatre.org or call the box office at (561) 575-2223 and head to the theatre at 1001 E Indiantown Road in Jupiter as soon as you can.
It’s an amazing production starring Vicki Lewis as Rose and Emma Stratton as Louise with strong support from Jillian Van Niel as June and John Scherer as Herbie. Special note of appreciation to Brett Thiele as Tulsa for a great song and dance routine with Louise.
Under the direction of director/choreographer Marcia Milgrom Dodge, Vicki Lewis gives new meaning to “chewing up the scenery.” She’s non-stop motion, dialog and song and she belts out the lyrics with intensity and control.
With a cast of 30 and a 12-piece orchestra under music direction by Helen Gregory, this is a lush production of the award winning musical which opened on Broadway in 1959 with book by Arthur Laurents, music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Ethel Merman was the first Rose followed in 1973 (West End) and 1974 (Broadway) by Angela Lansbury; 1989 (Broadway) by Tyne Daly; 2003 (Broadway) by Bernadette Peters; 2008 (Broadway) by Patti Lupone; 2015 (West End) by Imelda Staunton; and 2017 (Maltz) by Vicki Lewis.
In the “Notes from the Director,” in “Footlights,” director Dodge is quoted, “I’m drawn to stories that illuminate the human condition – stories about families with flawed characters who have strong ambitions and giant dreams.”
To which I would add, … and the need to live vicariously through their children’s lives, having been denied their own goals by familial situations such as the Great Depression – the timeframe of the story.
As a single mother with two little girls, it’s too late for Rose to become a vaudeville star but she can bestow stardom on her daughters whether they want it or not and apparently blind to the fact that vaudeville is a dying genre.
Throughout the action, Rose keeps denying that her children are becoming teens and young adults until all but Louise abandon her. Then, because she can get a headliner billing, Rose thrusts Louise into burlesque as Gypsy Rose Lee.
I found it interesting to note that “Let Me Entertain You,” the childish ditty first sung by Baby June, and repeated throughout the timeline becomes Gypsy Rose Lee’s theme. There are many other references like this which come together to mesmerize the audience. But you have to see them to make the connections.