Gypsy with Klea Blackhurst - Drury Lane Chicago

jon5202
Featured Actor
joined:12/14/10
Gypsy starring Klea Blackhurst is now in previews at Drury Lane Theatre outside Chicago

For first pictures check this link:

http://www.drurylaneoakbrook.com/live_theatre/now_playing.php
broadwaydanwi
Stand-by
joined:2/25/08
I hope to see it soon. Cannot wait for Drury Lane to post some videos!
Jon
Broadway Legend
joined:2/20/04
Apparently, Drury lane now has a policy of casting all lead roles in New York. I guess Chicago actors are only good enough for supporting roles.
broadwaydanwi
Stand-by
joined:2/25/08
I would be seeing GYPSY at Drury Lane with or without Klea in the lead. Chicago has some amazing musical theatre performers, but it's hard to sell tickets in this economy. And casting some "stars" from New York might revitalize the establishment.
AC126748
Broadway Legend
joined:7/15/06
"Klea Blackhurst" isn't the kind of name who's going to automatically sell many tickets--or drum up much interest--except to a select few people who follow theatre very closely. Even here, I think she's better known as a cabaret performer than a musical theatre actress. I'm sure she'll be great in the role--she does an entire cabaret based around Merman, and I believe even recorded a Merman-themed album ("Everything the Traffic Will Allow").
"You travel alone because other people are only there to remind you how much that hook hurts that we all bit down on. Wait for that one day we can bite free and get back out there in space where we belong, sail back over water, over skies, into space, the hook finally out of our mouths and we wander back out there in space spawning to other planets never to return hurrah to earth and we'll look back and can't even see these lives here anymore. Only the taste of blood to remind us we ever existed. The earth is small. We're gone. We're dead. We're safe." -John Guare, Landscape of the Body
broadwaydanwi
Stand-by
joined:2/25/08
Gregg Edelman and Liz McCartney are not big-time "stars" either, but their work in Drury Lane's SWEENEY TODD last fall was amazing -- and their excellent performances helped the theatre sell a lot of tickets. Drury Lane is the type of establishment that sells tickets on good word of mouth. If Klea creates a great Rose, and I'm sure she will, Drury Lane will do just fine. Chicago audiences love GYPSY!
AC126748
Broadway Legend
joined:7/15/06
Oh, I'm not in any way saying that Blackhurst isn't going to give an amazing performance. And I'm sure Edelman and McCartney were excellent--they're great talents. They're just not the kind of performers who would seem to sell tickets on name alone.
"You travel alone because other people are only there to remind you how much that hook hurts that we all bit down on. Wait for that one day we can bite free and get back out there in space where we belong, sail back over water, over skies, into space, the hook finally out of our mouths and we wander back out there in space spawning to other planets never to return hurrah to earth and we'll look back and can't even see these lives here anymore. Only the taste of blood to remind us we ever existed. The earth is small. We're gone. We're dead. We're safe." -John Guare, Landscape of the Body
AwesomeDanny
Broadway Legend
joined:7/30/09
I think it is disappointing that they didn't cast a Chicago actress as Mama Rose (there would have been so many who would have been fantastic). While Klea Blackhurst isn't really a name, I feel like the idea of importing actors from New York does create word of mouth. I had several friends who were interested in Drury Lane's Sweeney Todd because they had heard that Gregg Edelman had four Tony nominations, even though they had no idea who he was. At least there are some really great Chicago actors in the other roles.

On a side note, I read on several sites that Drury Lane has $20 tickets for students, but I can't find any information about it on their website. Does anyone know the details of this?

I have a friend who's seeing this next week, and I'm hoping to hear her thoughts soon.
The Distinctive Baritone
Broadway Legend
joined:8/28/04
It is becoming more and more of a thing with the big companies in Chicago (Steppenwolf being a notable exception) to cast out of town actors in leading roles. Chicago Shakespeare casts many of their leads with actors from the Stratford Festival, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and from New York. The Goodman loves recognizable names like Stacey Keach. The musical theater houses seem to try to employ as many Broadway people as possible.

Although obviously not many people are going to see a production because they've got Gregg Edelman or John Cudia or whatever well-established but non-famous stage actor in it, I think they like to bring "fresh meat" to the market. There are many tried and true Chicago actors that audiences love but have seen a gazillion times and I think producers want to attract audiences with someone new with a little bit of hype, even if said audience has never heard of that person.

Interestingly, Gregg Edelman (who I love but who was terribly miscast as Sweeney) was not Drury Lane's first choice. The role was first offered to another New York actor who has been on Broadway but doesn't have any Tony nominations or anything (he had to turn it down because he couldn't get out of another contract). It kinda goes to show that they didn't feel the need to have a "name" per se, just someone "new and exciting." Klea Blackhurst as Mama Rose and Jennifer Blood as Maria Rainer are also examples of this.
JoeKv99
Broadway Legend
joined:12/27/04
I don't think Drury Lane is doing anything but looking for the best actor for the role. I can think of a couple Chicago actresses I would have loved to see play Rose, but will certainly give Blackhurst a chance.
No good can possibly come from using this vast wasteland of error and deliberate deceit. You should get off of it and warn others away. You should make sure your children and grandchildren know what a corrupt and morally bankrupt institution it truly is.
The Distinctive Baritone
Broadway Legend
joined:8/28/04
There's no such thing as "the best actor for the role," only who the director/producers WANT in the role
JoeKv99
Broadway Legend
joined:12/27/04
Hmmmm. Ok then I'll trust their casting- how's that?
No good can possibly come from using this vast wasteland of error and deliberate deceit. You should get off of it and warn others away. You should make sure your children and grandchildren know what a corrupt and morally bankrupt institution it truly is.
The Distinctive Baritone
Broadway Legend
joined:8/28/04
I not saying they cast badly usually. Just making an observation about Chicagoland theaters and casting in general. I'm sure Klea Blackhurst is a talented lady and I look forward to seeing her. It's not like she beat me to the role, lol.
Hanna from Hamburg
Broadway Legend
joined:3/24/05
I've worked with Klea several times and I can tell you she is SUPREMELY talented. She's also a fascinating person to sit down and talk with, so all I can say is (IMHO) they are lucky to have her as their star!
". . . POP . . ."
broadwaydanwi
Stand-by
joined:2/25/08

Klea and this production of GYPSY got a pretty great review from the Tribune. See the link in this message.
Chicago Tribune Review of GYPSY

AwesomeDanny
Broadway Legend
joined:7/30/09
I'm seeing this next Saturday, and a friend of mine saw it last week. She said that it was a very good production. She thought that Klea Blackhurst was good but not quite up to par with Patti's portrayal (she's a really obsessive fan of Patti LuPone). It's extended a week, so it must be selling well, although I got really cheap discount tickets.
jon5202
Featured Actor
joined:12/14/10
The Distinctive Baritone
Broadway Legend
joined:8/28/04
I thought it was a very good production, although Ms. Blackhurst proved herself to be very similar to Merman not only vocally (which is what she is known for), but also in her apparent nature of being a "singer who acts"--that is, she sounded great but met only the minimal acting requirements. Chris Jones' review was spot-on, although I missed the "psychological depths" more than he did.
The Distinctive Baritone
Broadway Legend
joined:8/28/04
Double post.
Updated On: 2/8/12 at 08:46 AM
JoeKv99
Broadway Legend
joined:12/27/04
I saw it this weekend- loved it. I thought Blackhurst was great. I initially thought she was kind of low-key in the early scenes but as it went along it seemed like she was building up a head of steam which really makes sense in context. My only minor quibble was the pacing of the show- it seemed like some of the transitions took too long. The set would be changed, the actors in place and the band would play on an extra 15 seconds or so before the lights came up and scene began.

Matthew Crowle was terrific as Tusla- best I've ever seen. That guy is going to be a star.
No good can possibly come from using this vast wasteland of error and deliberate deceit. You should get off of it and warn others away. You should make sure your children and grandchildren know what a corrupt and morally bankrupt institution it truly is.
JoeKv99
Broadway Legend
joined:12/27/04
Incidentally- Gold Star has discounted tickets to just about every performance. I paid $30 a ticket (including all fees) to sit just about dead center in the house on a Friday night. There are no bad seats.

No good can possibly come from using this vast wasteland of error and deliberate deceit. You should get off of it and warn others away. You should make sure your children and grandchildren know what a corrupt and morally bankrupt institution it truly is.
Updated On: 2/8/12 at 11:53 AM
maila
Stand-by
joined:9/16/07
actually ms blackhurst reminds me so much of a combination of merman and midler ( without the over the top facial expressions). saw it last saturday. not the best production i saw at drury lane but still quite enjoyable.
AwesomeDanny
Broadway Legend
joined:7/30/09
I saw it Saturday night. It was worth the discounted ticket price, but I wouldn't have wanted to pay full price for it. I was sort of disappointed with Klea Blackhurst. She hit all of the marks (well, most of them), but she did nothing to shine. The Louise was very good, but her character change in the strip sequence felt too abrupt. A lot of the show felt a bit too fast. Tulsa was a fantastic dancer (actually, everyone in this cast was a great dancer, including the kids), but his nasally singing irritated me. My biggest complaint, however, was the nine piece orchestra that, at times, felt almost non-existent.

This was still a strong production, and the staging, design, choreography, and most of the singing and acting were great, but I felt that it didn't reach its full potential.
Mister Matt
Broadway Legend
joined:5/17/03
I thought their productions of Full Monty and Grand Hotel at Water Tower were okay (except the sound), but the one show I saw in Oakbrook was horrible (Curtains). The theatre itself was nice, but the rest of the facility felt like an aging casino. Given its location and the fact that I live downtown and don't own a car, it would take a LOT for me to go back there. I realize I may sound like a snob, but after the years of positive buzz I'd heard about Drury Lane Oakbrook, I was rather taken aback by my first exposure to the place.
"What can you expect from a bunch of seitan worshippers?" - Reginald Tresilian
broadwaydanwi
Stand-by
joined:2/25/08
I saw GYPSY on Sunday for the second time, and I enjoyed it very much. This is a very traditional production, and it's nice to see a talented performer such as Klea play Rose without the "star mannerisms" that crept into recent showings of the musical. I think Klea has a slight head cold, but she handled herself extremely well in her songs. She plays Rose as a woman hurt by her own mother and unable to mother her own daughters. Klea appears to be having more fun with the part, and I like the fact she chased after a fortune cookie she threw at the guy playing Mr. Goldstone! Sunday's matinee was sold out, and I have a feeling there won't be many tickets left to this solid and entertaining show at Drury Lane.