Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Review of Musical Theater Works' Gypsy

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Gypsy. The book was by Arthur Laurents and the music was by Jule Stein. The lyrics were by Stephen Sondheim. It was directed by Rudy Hogenmiller and choreographed by Clayton Cross. It was about a woman named Rose (Mary Robin Roth) who had two children, Baby June (Sophie Kaegi) and Baby Louise (Moira Hughes), who she wanted to become vaudeville performers. She really thinks she wants the best for her children, but is pretty much a stereotypical stage mom living vicariously and precariously through her children. Then June (Rosie Jo Neddy) grows up and decides she doesn't want to pretend to be nine anymore. Louise (Lexis Danca) takes over for her but decides that vaudeville isn't really for her and stumbles into burlesque and realizes that that is what she wants to do. It basically shows how children grow up and they go away and how hard it is for some mothers to deal with that. I think this is a fun musical and I enjoyed seeing it again.

I really like the song "Mr Goldstone." It is really fun and it really shows how people feel when something really exciting happens to them. You start to jumble up your words and get overly excited and try to do everything to make the person you are excited about really like you. Like when Rose calls Mr. Goldstone "Mr. Egg Roll" it is hilarious to me. This is a song that is super weird but I think it works because it is not trying to be serious; it is them blatantly saying "this is weird and we know it." Unlike "Little Lamb," which is kind of terrifying. It is literally an adult woman talking to her stuffed animals and asking them how old she is. It doesn't seem to further the story in any way, at least not in any way I can see. "Little Lamb' is trying to be serious, but it is still ridiculous. I think this is not the performer's fault at all, it is just the lyrics are so weird but not weird in a funny way. They weren't going for funny.

There was a song, "All I Need Is The Girl," sung by Tulsa (Clayton Cross), which was about how all he needed for his dance number was the girl. And Louise had a really big crush on him and was dancing along with him, which was very cute. But if you've seen the musical, you know how that works out. I thought the dancing was so good. It was really impressive--it looked like he was gliding across the floor. It reminded me of Fred Astaire--all he needs is Ginger Rogers to be the girl! This is basically showing off what Tulsa is capable of, even though he is stuck in Mama Rose's musical numbers, repeating "Extra! Extra! Hey would you look at the headline!" no matter how little it applied to the situation like when they turn the show into a farmyard version. It shows you that Mama Rose is not the best of songwriters. But that is hilarious. I don't know why it gets me every time even though I'm prepared for it.

"Rose's Turn" is such a well-written song. It is such a great wrap-up the show because she is literally belting her opinions about how her life has been, and it wraps up the show so neatly. It really makes the show go out with a bang. She is basically saying "I messed up my life. I did too much for my kids." She feels like she's not getting enough appreciation for what she did for her kids, but the problem is she is not really taking into account what her kids might actually want. She is admitting to some mistakes, but not the mistakes she actually needs to apologize for. Like she doesn't say "I'm so sorry. I made you do things. That you never. Wanted to do. I didn't care. What you wanted to do. I just lived. Vicariously though you." (That would work with the music. Try it.) But really it is an anthem; it is Rose's song and it's basically about her and not about her children who were the ones who were being hurt in the situation. It works so well because it is catchy but not annoying. It is a such a powerful song.

People who would like this show are people who like great dancing, belting your feelings, and egg rolls. I think this is a fun show with weird and great songs. It really makes you appreciate your mother!

Photos: Brett Beiner

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