A Wealth of Talent Performs Gypsy at NTC

Gypsy by Arthur Laurents (book), Jule Styne (music) and Stephen Sondheim (lyrics) is a real winner!  This Novato Theater Company production is brilliantly directed and choreographed by Blanca Florido assisted by Musical Director Andrew Klein and Producer Gary Gonser.

Gypsy is loosely based on the 1957 memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee, the famous strip tease artist and focuses on her mother, Rose (Daniela Innocenti-Beem) whose name has become synonymous with “the ultimate show business mother.”  The play follows the dreams and efforts of Rose to raise her two daughters to perform onstage and casts an eye on the hardships of show business life.  The character Louise (Gillian Eichenberger) is based on Lee and the character of June (Julianne Thompson) are based on Lee’s sister, the actress Joan Havoc.

There are 21 talented adult actors in Gypsy as well as 9 talented children.  The real star of this great production is Daniela Innocenti-Beem, an Ethel Merman look alike as Mama Rose, who has fabulous stage presence.  She is ably supported by her two daughters Louise and Baby June.  Other outstanding performers are Ron Dailey as Pop playing three parts, Weber and Phil; Patrick Barr as Herbie, the girl’s manager and Rose’s lover; Burl Lampert in four roles including Uncle Jocko, Bougeron-Cochon and Mr. Goldstone; and Michael Lumb as Tulsa who elopes with Baby June.

Set during the vaudeville era in the early 1920’s, Gypsy is about Rose, the archetype of a stage mother, aggressive and domineering, pushing her children to perform.  While June is an extroverted, talented child star, the older girl, Louise is shy.  Rose travels the country with the two daughters and manager Herbie. While June and Louise wish their mother would settle down and marry Herbie, Rose continues to pursue dreams of stardom for her girls.  But June deserts the act and marries Tulsa and Rose tries to turn shy Louise into a star. When the act is booked into a burlesque house by mistake, Louise is forced into the spotlight and Gypsy Rose Lee is born!

This musical contains many songs that became popular including “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” “Together (Wherever We Go),” ” Small World,” and “Let Me Entertain You.”  Gypsy has been called the greatest American musical by numerous critics and writers.

Gypsy runs October 18-November 10, 2013 at the Novato Theater Company, 5420 Nave Drive, Novato.  Curtain times are Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday-Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. For tickets, call the box office at 415-883-4498 or go online at www.novatotheatercompany.org.

Coming up next at Novato Theater Company will be “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” by Barbara Robinson, November 30-December 15, 2013.

Flora Lynn Isaacson