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Theater review

Despite slow start, ‘Gypsy’ succeeds

Thursday, March 20, 2014
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Theater review


The bond between a mother and a daughter is a complicated one. Mothers and daughters struggle — for power, for control, for autonomy, for the mother to acknowledge that the daughter is an adult, for the daughter to acknowledge that the mother is not just defined by the title “mother.”

“Gypsy,” currently in production at Capital Repertory Theatre, delves into this relationship and introduces us to one of the most intimidating mothers of all: Rose, the stage mother who would make all modern-day reality-show dance moms quake in their boots.

Rose (Mary Callanan) is determined that her daughters will make it in vaudeville. She rides hard over anyone and anything that stands in her way on her way to that goal. Sadly, her children — for whom she is purportedly doing this — don’t stand a chance either, faced with Rose’s iron will.

June, the star, is forced to play young long after her fresh-faced years have passed, and Louise, who is told repeatedly she is unattractive and talentless, is ignored and shifted to background positions, supporting her sister.

The production is well-done. It is beautiful to watch, with gorgeous costumes designed by Denise Massman and crisp, entertaining choreography by Freddy Ramirez.

Slightly sluggish

The show itself, however, seems to drag. The set changes are much too long, and the pacing seems a bit off. This could be a function of the show itself. There is a lot of information to cram into it to make it work and, therefore, it may be impossible to make it run any more fluidly than it does.

'Gypsy'

WHERE: Capital Repertory Theatre, 111 N. Pearl Street, Albany

WHEN: Through April 13

HOW MUCH: $65-$16

MORE INFO: 445-7469,

www.capitalrep.org

Callanan as Rose has the voice for the role, and the appearance. She is a force on stage and always draws your eye to her. Her motivation is a bit cloudy, however, until the reveal, and it seems there might be a way to make that a bit more focused throughout, rather than to have it dropped on us in the final scene.

The one to watch

Kelsey Crouch’s adult Louise (it can be said without spoiling the plot that she becomes the famous burlesque star Gypsy Rose Lee, as the show is based on Lee’s memoirs) is, to me, the one to watch; she is as powerful in the small emotional scenes as she is in the bigger dramatic ones, and her burlesque performances are the highlight of the evening.

The song “You Gotta Get a Gimmick,” where three burlesque performers (LoriAnn Freda, Hillary Parker and Benita Zahn) teach Louise how to make in the business, is also a treat — it is always refreshing to watch performers who are truly enjoying what they do, and these three women are having such a good time with this song that the energy is infectious.

Although not a flawless production, it is not often we see such a venerated show come to the area. I would recommend seeing it for that reason and overlooking the small missteps. The bigger picture is what counts, and the bigger picture here is that this is, overall, quite a success.

 
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