Virginia Rep’s production of ‘Gypsy’ is a joy from beginning to end
Forget TLC’s “Toddlers and Tiaras,” for a fascinating look at one of the most well-known stage moms, check out Virginia Rep’s production of Gypsy, often referred to as the “greatest American musical.”
Based on Gypsy: A Memoir by Gypsy Rose Lee, this delightful and “brassy” show with beloved music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, tells the story of “the ultimate stage mom,” the iconic Mama Rose, played superbly by Robyn O’Neill, as she tries to mold her daughters, June (Catherine Walker) and Louise (Christie Jackson), into vaudeville performers.
As vaudeville’s glory years fade, however, fewer venues want to book the sisters.
June, Mama Rose’s “baby” and the “real star” sees the writing on the wall and, desperate to escape her mother’s meddling ways, elopes with one of the backup dancers leaving Louise to struggle to live up to her sister’s talent.
When Herbie (Chris Hietikko), the act’s agent and Mama’s love interest, mistakenly books them as the bottom-rung act in a burlesque show, Louise’s fate is sealed and she becomes the renowned striptease artist Gypsy Rose Lee.
Virginia Rep’s production is a joy from beginning to end. From the set to the costumes, the musical numbers and the acting, Gypsy is a feast for the eyes and ears. And the heart.
It seems I am one of the few middle-aged Americans who hasn’t seen Gypsy before. But the songs – classics like “Everything’s Coming up Roses,” and “Let me Entertain You,” were a part of my childhood as the stepdaughter of a musician.
Newcomers to the show, like me, will come to appreciate and love this American treasure. Aficionados will delight in the stellar performances and fall in love all over again.
Gypsy will continue to delight audiences through January 10, 2016. Pick up tickets here!
Julie Harthill Clayton is an out and proud bisexual with a passion for reading, writing . . . and NOT arithmetic. Her work has appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, the Internet Review of Books, Curve Magazine, Lambda Literary and more. She is working on her first novel - Two Tickets to Freedom - a semi-autobiographical queer coming-of-age tale. A paralegal by day, Julie spends her free time knitting, writing, and reading anything she can get her hands on. She lives in Richmond with her partner, local artist David Turner, and their mischievous and loving hunting dog, Max.
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