Michele Ragusa Stars as 'Mama Rose' in Hangar Theatre's GYPSY, Opening Tonight

The Hangar Theatre continues its 39th season with one of the greatest American musicals of all time, Gypsy, which runs from tonight, July 4-20. Distinguished by more than 45 awards and nominations - including the Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, and Theatre World awards - Gypsy has been revived on Broadway four times. Gypsy was inspired by the memoirs of the legendary burlesque performer Gypsy Rose Lee. This gripping story follows the ultimate stage mother, determined to catapult her daughters to stardom in the waning 1920s vaudeville circuit. It's filled with Styne and Sondheim's popular standards, including "Everything's Coming up Roses," "Small World," "Let Me Entertain You," "All I Need Is the Girl," and "Rose's Turn." For tickets and information, call 607.273.4497 or visit www.HangarTheatre.org.

Michele Ragusa (Broadway's Young Frankenstein, Urinetown, and Titanic) stars as Mama Rose. The cast features Hangar alumni David Studwell (the Hangar's productions of Titanic and Ragtime) as Herbie; Wally Dunn (the Hangar's productions of November and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, as well as Broadway's Spamalot and Gypsy) as Uncle Jocko; and Ariella Serur (the Hangar's production of Titanic) as Louise. The cast also features Martin Van Treuren (Broadway's How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Jekyll and Hyde, and NYC Opera's Candide) as Pops; Rebecca Gibel (TV's "Blue Bloods" and Trinity Rep's Boeing Boeing) as Tessie Tura; and Cathy Trien (Broadway revival of Gypsy and The Great American Trailer Park Musical) as Mazeppa. The Hangar production will be directed by Artistic Director Stephanie Yankwitt, with musical direction by Ryan MacKenzie Lewis, and choreography by Cody Smith.

Director Stephanie Yankwitt says, "The history of Gypsy is the history of Vaudeville in America. On a personal level, Gypsy is the musical that inspired me toward a life in the theatre. Rose's relentless pursuit of achieving her dreams and creating a life that she can be proud of, and Louise's ability to thrive in the face of adversity, speak to the heart of the American experience and the struggle we confront as we move through our lives. 'Everybody needs something impossible to hope for,' and that is at the heart of Gypsy." This classic musical speaks directly to the underlying theme of this season at the Hangar: stories of people confronting their past in order to discover their future.

Tickets range from $23 to $46 and can be purchased online at www.HangarTheatre.org, by phone at 607.273.4497, or in person at Ticket Center Ithaca located on the Downtown Commons in addition to at the Hangar Theatre Box Office one hour before curtain time. The recently renovated theatre is located at 801 Taughannock Blvd, Ithaca, NY 14850. Subscription packages - offering preferred seating, discounted ticket prices, and other great benefits - are also available. For subscription information, call 607. 273.8588 or visit www.HangarTheatre.org, or stop by the Hangar Theatre business office M-F 10am - 5:00pm. The office is located in Center Ithaca on the Downtown Commons at 171 East State Street, Suite 230 Ithaca, NY 14850.

The Hangar Theatre is committed to providing exceptional theatre experiences of high professional quality to enrich, enlighten, educate, and entertain the diverse audience in the Finger Lakes region and beyond. Strong education and training programs are central parts of our commitment to the local and national artistic communities. Visit www.HangarTheatre.org for more information.

Michele Ragusa (Rose) has appeared on Broadway in Young Frankenstein (Elizabeth - succeeding Megan Mullally), Urinetown, Ragtime, A Class Act, Titanic, and Cyrano. Other NYC credits include Adrift In Macaoat Primary Stages, for which she received Lortel and Drama League nominations and a Barrymore Award. Her regional credits include Spamalot (Lady/Lake), Into The Woods (Witch), Kiss Me Kate (Kate), Singing In The Rain (Lina), Guys and Dolls (Adelaide), Annie (Hannigan), Drowsy Chaperone (Chaperone), Sweeney Todd(Beggar Woman), and Lend Me A Tenor (Maria). She is also a star soloist with symphonies across the country. www.micheleragusa.com

Stephanie Yankwitt (Director), the Hangar's Acting Artistic Director, is a New York based Director, Casting Director, and Professor with NYU's Tisch School of the Arts at the Stella Adler Studio. Past Directing projects include The Trip to Bountiful by Horton Foote and Rounding Third by Richard Dresser, both at the Hangar,Our Lady of 121st Street by Stephen Adly Guirgis (North Carolina premiere), and the premieres of This Is A Cowboy Poem My Daddy Taught Me by Katie Bender (Abingdon Theatre Company/Cardinal Group Prods), and Letters To The End Of The World by Anton Dudley at Stella Adler Studio. In addition, Stephanie has served as Associate Director on Broadway of the World Premiere of November and the most recent revival ofAmerican Buffalo, both by David Mamet, The Receptionist by Adam Bock (MTC), and All That I Will Ever Be by Alan Ball (NYTW). Stephanie has directed multiple children's shows including the National Tour ofNate The Great for Theatreworks USA, and If You Give a Mouse a Cookie for the Hangar Theatre's nationally recognized Theatre for Young Audience program called KIDDSTUFF. As a casting director, Stephanie has worked with Bernie Telsey & Tara Rubin in New York, and Francine Maisler in Los Angeles. Recent Broadway credits including The Heiress starring Jessica Chastain and David Straitharn, and revivals of Three Days of Rain and Glengarry Glen Ross. In addition to casting for the Hangar for the past five seasons, Stephanie has done work for Hartford Stage, Actors Theatre of Louisville, and most recently Yale Repertory Theatre, including the recent production of Hamlet starring Paul Giamatti. Her film credits include Birdman,directed by Academy Award nominee Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and starring Michael Keaton, Naomi Watts, and Zach Galifianakis, as well as Across the Universe, Rent, Then She Found Me and Dan in Real Life. After five years, this will be Stephanie's last summer at the Hangar. Upcoming Directing projects include Off-Broadway world premieres of two new plays in the fall. Stephanie sits on the advisory board of Paper Lantern Theatre Company, in Greensboro, NC.

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