Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Gypsy’s one mother of a musical at Cygnet

Mama Rose could have been, as someone says, “a pioneer woman without a frontier.”

Unstoppable stage mom Rose pushes her daughters through the vaudeville circuit in Gypsy.
Unstoppable stage mom Rose pushes her daughters through the vaudeville circuit in Gypsy.

The great musical Gypsy begins with Baby June and Louise auditioning for Uncle Jocko the Clown. He obviously loathes tryouts and children. Louise is inaudible. Just when you’d expect him to scream, a vocal bomb explodes at the back of the Cygnet Theatre — “Sing out, Louise!” — that practically shakes the foundations.

Gypsy

Enter Mama Rose, suffocating stage mother and template for control freaks everywhere. She bullies down the aisle as if on a mission for her Maker. How, you wonder, when the storm passes and the clouds clear, could anyone be the least bit creative under her tutelage? She sucks the air from the theater. Even from a breathless Jocko.

In “real” life, Mama Rose would do anything to make her daughters, Louise and June, Vaudeville stars. She even rigged a talent contest in Seattle, where they were born. She had June on stage at two-and-a-half (“Tiniest Toe Dancer in the World”). And when Baby June eloped with Bobby Reed, Mama Rose loaded all her efforts into her other, “no-talent” daughter, Louise.

Be careful what you wish for: both daughters were big stars, in spite of their mother. Baby June became June Havoc and Louise, the famed stripper Gypsy Rose Lee. Mama Rose got her wish but not her way.

In her oversized, homemade coats and desperately upbeat, Mama Rose resembles these political times: she’s as fascinating as she is scary. Linda Libby’s masterful performance at Cygnet adds other, more human touches. Rose loves her daughters — in her own way. She’s funny, often self-aware of her Panzer-like urge to dominate. And she’s unsinkable — right up there with Molly Brown — to the point that it almost drives her mad. Libby’s portrait and belting voice layer Rose with positives and negatives. She could have been, as someone says, “a pioneer woman without a frontier.”

The person playing Louise/Gypsy Rose Lee has one of the most difficult arcs in musical theater. She must go from her mother’s mute, Ugly Duckling to dazzling vocal and physical assertion: from the basement to the penthouse. As Louise, Allison Spratt Pearce does an amazing thing: she makes the changes almost imperceptible. She begins as the fifth banana in a four banana cluster. Then she gradually awakens to her talent and herself. In the end, Pearce not only commands the stage — thanks to Jeanne Reith’s elegantly spangled costumes and Peter Herman’s spot-on wig — she even looks like Gypsy Rose Lee.

Gypsy is the largest show Cygnet has staged in its 13 seasons: a cast of 24, 6 musicians (ably directed by Terry O’Donnell), all kinds of set changes (even “roll drops” flying in) and lighting cues. On opening night, if artistic director Sean Murray hadn’t mentioned it in his pre-show remarks, you would never have known. The evening flowed; the scenes had depth and often subtle moods. Everyone contributed, especially Katie Whalley Banville as June and Manny Fernandes as passive-until-crunch-time Herbie.

Cygnet has done full justice to “the mother of all musicals.”

Place

Cygnet Theatre

4040 Twiggs Street, San Diego

Gypsy, book by Arthur Laurents, music by Jule Styne, lyrics, Stephen Sondheim

Directed by Sean Murray; cast: Linda Libby, Manny Fernandes, Allison Spratt Pearce, Danny Hansen, David Kirk Grant, Hanz Enyeart, Katie Whalley Banville, Lauren King Thompson, Dallas Perry, Marlene Montes, Kendra Truett, Marci Anne Wuebben; scenic design, Sean Fanning; costumes, Jeanne Reith; lighting, Chris Rynne; sound, Dylan Nielsen; wigs, Peter Herman; choreographer, David Brannen

Playing through September 4; Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. Sunday at 7 p.m. Matinee Sunday at 2 p.m. cygnettheatre.org

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

The optional surcharge of Trust Restaurant Group

A dollar oyster happy hour and four percent living wage fee
Next Article

The optional surcharge of Trust Restaurant Group

A dollar oyster happy hour and four percent living wage fee
Unstoppable stage mom Rose pushes her daughters through the vaudeville circuit in Gypsy.
Unstoppable stage mom Rose pushes her daughters through the vaudeville circuit in Gypsy.

The great musical Gypsy begins with Baby June and Louise auditioning for Uncle Jocko the Clown. He obviously loathes tryouts and children. Louise is inaudible. Just when you’d expect him to scream, a vocal bomb explodes at the back of the Cygnet Theatre — “Sing out, Louise!” — that practically shakes the foundations.

Gypsy

Enter Mama Rose, suffocating stage mother and template for control freaks everywhere. She bullies down the aisle as if on a mission for her Maker. How, you wonder, when the storm passes and the clouds clear, could anyone be the least bit creative under her tutelage? She sucks the air from the theater. Even from a breathless Jocko.

In “real” life, Mama Rose would do anything to make her daughters, Louise and June, Vaudeville stars. She even rigged a talent contest in Seattle, where they were born. She had June on stage at two-and-a-half (“Tiniest Toe Dancer in the World”). And when Baby June eloped with Bobby Reed, Mama Rose loaded all her efforts into her other, “no-talent” daughter, Louise.

Be careful what you wish for: both daughters were big stars, in spite of their mother. Baby June became June Havoc and Louise, the famed stripper Gypsy Rose Lee. Mama Rose got her wish but not her way.

In her oversized, homemade coats and desperately upbeat, Mama Rose resembles these political times: she’s as fascinating as she is scary. Linda Libby’s masterful performance at Cygnet adds other, more human touches. Rose loves her daughters — in her own way. She’s funny, often self-aware of her Panzer-like urge to dominate. And she’s unsinkable — right up there with Molly Brown — to the point that it almost drives her mad. Libby’s portrait and belting voice layer Rose with positives and negatives. She could have been, as someone says, “a pioneer woman without a frontier.”

The person playing Louise/Gypsy Rose Lee has one of the most difficult arcs in musical theater. She must go from her mother’s mute, Ugly Duckling to dazzling vocal and physical assertion: from the basement to the penthouse. As Louise, Allison Spratt Pearce does an amazing thing: she makes the changes almost imperceptible. She begins as the fifth banana in a four banana cluster. Then she gradually awakens to her talent and herself. In the end, Pearce not only commands the stage — thanks to Jeanne Reith’s elegantly spangled costumes and Peter Herman’s spot-on wig — she even looks like Gypsy Rose Lee.

Gypsy is the largest show Cygnet has staged in its 13 seasons: a cast of 24, 6 musicians (ably directed by Terry O’Donnell), all kinds of set changes (even “roll drops” flying in) and lighting cues. On opening night, if artistic director Sean Murray hadn’t mentioned it in his pre-show remarks, you would never have known. The evening flowed; the scenes had depth and often subtle moods. Everyone contributed, especially Katie Whalley Banville as June and Manny Fernandes as passive-until-crunch-time Herbie.

Cygnet has done full justice to “the mother of all musicals.”

Place

Cygnet Theatre

4040 Twiggs Street, San Diego

Gypsy, book by Arthur Laurents, music by Jule Styne, lyrics, Stephen Sondheim

Directed by Sean Murray; cast: Linda Libby, Manny Fernandes, Allison Spratt Pearce, Danny Hansen, David Kirk Grant, Hanz Enyeart, Katie Whalley Banville, Lauren King Thompson, Dallas Perry, Marlene Montes, Kendra Truett, Marci Anne Wuebben; scenic design, Sean Fanning; costumes, Jeanne Reith; lighting, Chris Rynne; sound, Dylan Nielsen; wigs, Peter Herman; choreographer, David Brannen

Playing through September 4; Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. Sunday at 7 p.m. Matinee Sunday at 2 p.m. cygnettheatre.org

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

There are four differences between the two pictures of protests below. Can you spot them? Check the answers to see how you did!

Spot the Difference!
Next Article

There are four differences between the two pictures of protests below. Can you spot them? Check the answers to see how you did!

Spot the Difference!
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close