Lauren Maria Medina as Louise (Photos by Liz Lauren).
A musical fable comes to life at the Marriott’s fine production of GYPSY. Its all-star cast showcases the tale of the ultimate stage mother, Rose, who fights for her daughters’ successes while really wanting her own moment in the spotlight.
Opening on Broadway in 1959, Arthur Laurents’ GYPSY was nominated for eight Tony awards and has been a beloved classic for generations.
Taking her daughters across the country in search of that next big gig in the waning days of vaudeville, Rose continually dreams of seeing daughter June’s name in lights. A three-times divorced mamma, nothing will get in Rose’s way, not even a new suitor by the name of Herb, who is kind and loyal.
Make no mistake, this is a woman’s show, empowering and emotionally problematic.
When June tires of the act and runs off to get married, Rose channels her interest in her other daughter, Louise, to make her a star.
The musical features Broadway star Lucia Spina as Rose whose loud, brassy, and booming voice perfectly captures the pushy stage mother. She belts out every song, reminiscent of Ethel Merman who played Rose on Broadway.
Lucky for the audience, a warm welcome back to the Marriott stage is given to the Jefferson award-winning Nathaniel Stampley as suitor Herbie who is charming and authentic. But having seen Stampley in other Marriot roles like “Man of La Mancha” and “Ragtime,” his amazing talent seems somewhat wasted.
Nathaniel Stampley (Herbie) and Lucia Spina (Rose )
The audience watches as Lauren Maria Medina who plays Louise is transformed from a mousy little girl into a confident, successful burlesque superstar, the legendary Gypsy Rose Lee. Her voice is powerful and strong.
With music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, the show boasts a memorable score including: “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” “Let Me Entertain You,” “Some People,” and “Together Wherever We Go.”
Kudos to J’Kobe Wallace who plays Tulsa and an ensemble member for his outstanding dancing that took the house down.
The Marriott production will likely feel different from other GYPSYs because director Amanda Dehnert working with choreographer Stephanie Klemons and music director Jeff Award Winner Ryan T. Nelson emphasized its emotional toll and darker side.
On a different note: Fans of Nathaniel Stampley will be happy to know he takes the stage in an intimate evening of solo songs and stories for one night only, October 15 at 7:30 p.m. In Songs & Stories: Nathaniel Stampley in Concert, Mr. Stampley traces his career from Milwaukee to Chicago, Broadway, London and beyond.
DETAILS: GYPSY is at the Marriott Theatre, 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire, IL through October 23, 2023. Running time: 2 hours, 40 minutes with one intermission. For tickets and other information, visit www.marriotttheatre.com or call the Marriott Theatre Box Office: (847) 634-0200.
For more shows visit Theatre in Chicago