Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Gypsy"

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide


"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

entire contents copyright 2001 by Robert Guenthner


Reviewed by Robert Guenthner AKA oldgrump


Book Arthur Laurents Music Jules Styne Lyrics Stephen Sondheim
Music Director-Jeanne Monroe / Technical Director-Michael Bonomi
Choreographer-David Connolly / Set Design-Laura McPherson
Lighting-Kerry Dowling / Properties-Holly Dixon / Sound-Ed DiMarzio
Stage Manager-Amy Judd / Stage Director-Stacey Stephens
Producing Artistic Director-Meg Fofonoff

Fiddlehead Theatre has developed a reputation of producing some of the best plays in New England. Gypsy proved to be no exception. It was well staged and very well acted and sung. The orchestra was brassy and alive, as it had to be in some of the more raucous numbers.

Gypsy is the story of a stage mother and her two daughters, June and Louise. Starting when they were toddlers, the mother fashioned their careers in vaudeville. June is the favorite and the featured girl in the act, with Louise more or less the ugly duckling. Years pass, but the mothers zeal and routines do not. The act is stuck in a rut, even as the girls grow up, the mother forces them to perform as preteens. Finally, the time comes for rebellion; June elopes and leaves the act. By chance, as vaudeville is dying, they get booked into a burlesque show. Louise, after a fashion, ends up being an exotic dancer, Gypsy Rose Lee.

The cast may have had a few opening night jitters, but it did not affect the performance. For a first night, the show went surprisingly smooth. The scenery changes were quick. I only wish that the girl changing the stage cards in the first act, and the boy doing it in the second act could have been spotlighted. I would have liked to get a clear look at them, rather than trying to pick them out of a shadow.

Courtney Muller and Samantha Goober played baby and young June. You couldn't have asked for cuter or more talented children to play those parts. A dance by a group of young ladies portraying newsboys warmed my heart. They were adorable youngsters who could dance up a storm.

The scene where the kids changed into adults was helped by a darkened stage and flashing strobe lights. Very effective.

Brett Schellenberger [ Tulsa ], did the song ALL I NEED IS THE GIRL. A smooth dancer, with a strong singing voice. I hope I can see more of Brett.

David Giagrando [ Pop / Kringlein ] and Bettina Gray [ Miss Cratchitt ] each had small, but important roles. Both of them did a fine job.

Dan Kelly [ Herbie ], was an agent that fell in love with Rose. Dan's work was light and enjoyable through out the show, but his dramatic departure was a wonderful piece of acting.

Johanna Perri [ June ] was her usual self. Whenever she steps onto a stage she brings a great enthusiasm to go with her talent and good looks. I have seen Johanna in many shows, and look forward to seeing her in many more.

Heather Hannon [ Louise - Gypsy Rose Lee ] spent the first act and some of the second as the dungaree clad Louise. The sister without talent or looks, [ according to Rose ]. The metamorphosis, her change from Louise to Gypsy Rose Lee, required special acting skills and rapid make up changes. Heather accomplished the changes, hesitant at first, then gradually gaining confidence, until she became the famous sexy exotic dancer. A beautiful girl, with a beautiful voice, Heather also proved she was a very good actor through out the show, but more so at the end.

Kerry A. Dowling [ Rose ]. This lady was truly Rose. Her bossy demeanor and powerful singing in the songs SOME PEOPLE, EVERYTHINGS COMING UP ROSES and SMALL WORLD were so good they were beyond superlatives. ROSES TURN, a song that explained why Rose pushed her children so hard. In singing it she became a sympathetic character, but still loud and bossy.

I am looking forward to seeing the show again next Saturday. I don't know how these people can improve upon the show I saw, I know I will enjoy it as much as I did opening night.

"Gypsy" (5 - 21 October)
109 Central Street, NORWOOD MA
1(781) 762-4060

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide