Widely regarded as the best “book musical” ever written for its thorough integration of music, plot and characters, “Gypsy” follows bombastic “Mama” Rose Hovick, who will stop at nothing to make her two daughters, Louise and June, into Vaudeville stars. Performances run Sept. 17 – Oct. 4 in Jamison Hall at The Factory at Franklin (230 Franklin Rd.). Tickets are on sale now online here and can also be purchased by calling the box office at (615) 541-8200.
“Gypsy” is loosely based on the memoirs of real-life burlesque star Gypsy Rose Lee, adapted for stage by Arthur Laurents (book), Jule Styne (music) and Stephen Sondheim (lyrics). The show debuted on Broadway in 1959 to much acclaim and has been hailed by New York Times theater critics as “one of the most enduring creations of the American theater” and “the kind of revival we cannot have too much of.”
Studio Tenn’s Managing Director Jake Speck calls “Gypsy” “bold, brassy Broadway at its best.”
The score includes some of the best known show-tunes of all time, such as “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” “Let Me Entertain You,” “All I Need is the Girl” and “Together Wherever We Go.”
The main character, Mama Rose, is considered one of the most difficult and dynamic roles in all of musical theater. Studio Tenn has tapped revered local actor Nan Gurley. “Nan is an absolute treasure of the Nashville theater community, and we are beyond thrilled to have her as our Rose,” says Speck. “She is going to shine incredibly bright in this role.”
The cast of local all-stars features Mia Rose Lynne as Louise, Matthew Carlton as Herbie, Maggie Richardson as June, Caleb Marshall as Tulsa, Erin Parker as Tessie Tura, Casey Hebbel as Electra, Sarah Jane Nelson as Mazeppa, Derek Whittaker as Pop, Kringelein, Cigar and Phil, David Compton as Uncle Jocko, Weber, Mr. Goldstone and Pastey, Caroline Hampton as Baby June and Ayla Williams as Baby Louise. The stellar Ensemble comprises Katie Davis, Wesley Carpenter, Hallie Long, Grace Williams, Rebekah Lecocq, Jake Perrotti, Neal Buckley, Brooks Bennett, Quintan Craig, Bella Higginbotham, Gus O’Brien and Wyatt Rogers.
Producing “Gypsy” is a long-held ambition for Studio Tenn’s Artistic Director and Designer Matt Logan. His first professional Broadway gig was working in the costume department of the 2003 revival starring Bernadette Peters.
Sequins, fringe, feathers, gemstones and the like all have their place in Logan’s costuming. The “stage within a stage” set features a vintage proscenium and a hand-crafted lighted marquee. “It’s a lush, dazzling show about show business, which lends itself to all kinds of spectacle,” Logan says. “And that glitz and glamour is juxtaposed with the harsh reality of the underbelly of the entertainment business and life on the road.”
The Vaudevillian setting of this musical makes it a feast for the eyes as much as the ears and a designer’s dream. “A designer in a Vaudeville context is a bit like a kid in a candy store,” Logan explains. “With ‘Gypsy,’ we get to create the full spectrum: from the crafty, hand-made costumes of rudimentary beginner’s theater to the luxurious garments worn by a top celebrity performer.” Because of that range, Logan adds, “’Gypsy’ is a special opportunity for Studio Tenn to showcase the imagination, artistry and craftsmanship at the core of our artistic approach.”