GYPSY to Open Next Weekend at Music Theater Works

GYPSY to Open Next Weekend at Music Theater Works

Music Theater Works (formerly Light Opera Works) presents GYPSY, the tale of an ambitious stage mother fighting for her daughters' success, at Cahn Auditorium in Evanston, August 19 through 27. A 25-piece orchestra accompanies such well-known songs as "Everything's Coming Up Roses," "Let Me Entertain You" and "Some People."

GYPSY is directed by Music Theater Works artistic director Rudy Hogenmiller, conducted by music director Roger L. Bingaman and choreographed by Clayton Cross.

The cast includes Mary Robin Roth (Rose), Russell Alan Rowe (Herbie), Lexis Danca (Louise), Rosie Jo Neddy (June), and Clayton Cross (Tulsa).

The design/production team is Joe C. Klug (scenic), Jeff Hendry (costumes), Andrew H. Meyers (lighting), Aaron Quick (sound), Shannon Rourke (stage manager) and Katie Beeks (production manager).

GYPSY is Music Theater Works' second production of 2017. The season will continue with the concert performance Duke Ellington'S GREATEST HITS (October 6-15) and PETER PAN (December 23-January 1, 2018). Discounted season ticket packages are still available.

Tickets for GYPSY begin at $34. Ages 25 and younger are half price. To order tickets, or for more information, call the Music Theater Works box office at (847) 920-5360 or order online 24 hours a day at


Rudy Hogenmiller (Director), artistic director of Music Theater Works, has directed and choreographed many productions for the company including CANDIDE, DIE FLEDERMAUS, LET ME ENTERTAIN YOU: Jule Styne'S GREATEST HITS, MAME, MY FAIR LADY, GUYS AND DOLLS, SOUTH PACIFIC, THE FANTASTICKS, THE MERRY WIDOW, Cole Porter'S GREATEST HITS, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, H.M.S. PINAFORE, OLIVER!, MAN OF LA MANCHA, CAMELOT, BRIGADOON, HELLO, DOLLY!, THE YEOMEN OF THE GUARD, A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC, THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE, KISS ME, KATE, SOUTH PACIFIC, THE MIKADO and THE SOUND OF MUSIC. Hogenmiller was seen on stage in 2014 as Mr. Applegate in DAMN YANKEES, and as the Emcee in CABARET in 2013. He has been recognized with six Joseph Jefferson Awards and 17 nominations for best direction and choreography in Chicago, and has been a member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers for more than 35 years.

Roger L. Bingaman (Music Director and Conductor) conducts the 25-piece orchestra. Bingaman made his first appearance on the Music Theater Works podium in 1997, conducting THE MERRY WIDOW. Since then he has conducted many productions, including CANDIDE, DIE FLEDERMAUS, MAME, MY FAIR LADY, SOUTH PACIFIC, THE FANTASTICKS, CABARET, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, H.M.S. PINAFORE, OLIVER!, CAMELOT, THE STUDENT PRINCE, BRIGADOON, HELLO, DOLLY! CAROUSEL, and THE YEOMEN OF THE GUARD, as well as THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE, A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC, THE MUSIC MAN, IOLANTHE, GIGI, OKLAHOMA!, BITTER SWEET, KISS ME, KATE, 110 IN THE SHADE, NO WAY TO TREAT A LADY and BEAUTIFUL HELEN OF TROY. Bingaman has been director of the apprentice program and chorus master for the Sarasota Opera since 1998.

CLAYTON CROSS (Choreographer and Tulsa) choreographed CANDIDE, MAME, MY FAIR LADY and GUYS AND DOLLS at Music Theater Works, where also played the Mute in THE FANTASTICKS and was a featured dancer in DAMN YANKEES. Cross served for five years as artistic advisor, board member and choreographer for Renegade Dance Architects, and continues to consult and contribute choreography to the Capitol One Bowl's ALL AMERICAN HALFTIME SHOW. He is a master teacher for M.A. Dance, a Texas-based traveling convention circuit, where he has worked and judged for the past 17 years. Throughout his 20-year career as a dancer, Cross has worked with Robert Battle, Fernando Bujones, Frank Chaves, Paul Taylor, and Ann Reinking. He was featured in EVERY DANCER HAS A STORY, a PBS special about the River North Chicago Dance Company, where he was a company member for nine seasons and toured nationally and internationally. Originally from Midland, Texas, Cross received his early training from La Petite Dance Company, Coleman Academy, and the Midland Community Theatre. He holds a BFA in ballet and modern dance from Texas Christian University.

Mary Robin Roth (Rose) was seen last season at Music Theater Works as Vera Charles in MAME, and in LET ME ENTERTAIN YOU: Jule Styne'S GREATEST HITS. Other productions with the company include concert productions of HOLLYWOOD'S GREATEST SONG HITS and Cole Porter'S GREATEST HITS, Dolly Levi in HELLO, DOLLY! and five different characters in NO WAY TO TREAT A LADY. She was seen at Lyric Opera of Chicago as the Nurse in A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE starring Renee Fleming. Mary Robin's credits include Sister Lazarus in SISTER ACT (Marriott Theatre), Fraulein Schneider in CABARET, Jeanette in THE FULL MONTY, Helga in DEATHTRAP and Mama Morton in CHICAGO (Mason Street Warehouse; Saugatuck, Michigan), Miss Hannigan in ANNIE (Arkansas Repertory Theatre), and Fanny Brice in FUNNY GIRL (Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre of Indianapolis). Other favorite Chicago roles include Mame in MAME, and Carlotta in FOLLIES (for which she was honored with a Jeff Award and an After Dark Award) and SHEAR MADNESS (also San Francisco and the Kennedy Center). Broadway credits include THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD and SENATOR JOE. Her touring credits include the national and international companies of EVITA and the Toronto company of SUNSET BOULEVARD (understudy Norma Desmond).

RUSSELL ALAN ROWE (Herbie) returns to Music Theater Works where he appeared in CANDIDE as Martin. Other productions with the company include MAME (M. Lindsay Woolsey), MY FAIR LADY (George, Lord Boxington), SOUTH PACIFIC (Cmdr. Harbison), THE MERRY WIDOW (Kromov), FIDDLER ON THE ROOF (Constable) and ANNIE GET YOUR GUN (Mac/Buffalo Bill understudy.). Favorite Chicago roles include Robert Danvers in THERE'S A GIRL IN MY SOUP at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre and the Man in Christopher Durang's LAUGHING WILD with Bailiwick Chicago. Other Chicago credits include PARADE (Governor Slaton/Luther Rosser), AMADEUS (Strack), FLOYD COLLINS (Lee Collins) and THE RAINMAKER (Sheriff Thomas), all with Bohemian Theatre Ensemble. Russell was seen in Porchlight Music Theatre's ANYONE CAN WHISTLE in concert, and StageLeft's BLUE/WHITNEY. Russell also works frequently as a professional pianist with The Russell Alan Rowe Trio, and can be seen featured in several local and regional television commercials.

LEXIS DANCA (Louise/Gypsy Rose Lee), making her Music Theater works debut, is a recent graduate of Millikin University with a BFA in musical theater and dance minor. She was most recently seen at Music Theatre Wichita in MAMMA MIA!, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, OKLAHOMA!, NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, AIDA, DISNEY'S MY SON PINOCCHIO, BIG FISH, BILLY ELLIOT THE MUSICAL, and HELLO, DOLLY! Performances at Millikin include BLOOD WEDDING, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, THE WORLD GOES 'ROUND, PETER PAN, LEGALLY BLONDE, CINDERELLA, MACHINAL, the collegiate premiere of the new Gwon and Hammond musical STRING, and the workshop of Salzman and Cunningham's, THE LEGEND OF NEW YORK. Other credits include AN EVENING WITH Andrew Lippa, THE NUTCRACKER BALLET, THODOS DANCE RESIDENCY, and the 84th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (featured float singer/dancer).

ROSIE JO NEDDY (June) joins Music Theater Works for the first time, after graduating from Northwestern University in June, where she majored in theatre and minored in creative writing. Northwestern performances include INTO THE WOODS, CABARET, JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH, SWEET CHARITY, THE MIRACULOUS JOURNEY OF EDWARD TULANE, and the Waa-Mu Show. She also appeared in Lyric Opera of Chicago's CAROUSEL, as Baby Snow and in the ensemble.

Music Theater Works (formerly Light Opera Works) is a resident professional not-for-profit theater in Evanston, founded in 1980. The company's mission is to produce and present musical theater from a variety of world traditions. All productions are presented in English, with foreign works done in carefully edited modern translations. Maximum scholarship is employed to preserve the original vocal and orchestral material as well as the spirit of the original text whenever possible. Audiences know that at Music Theater Works they will experience repertoire often unavailable on the stages of commercial theaters and opera houses, in modern productions with professional artists and full orchestra.

Music Theater Works' mission is to produce and present musical theater from a variety of world traditions, to engage the community through educational and outreach programs, and to train artists in musical theater.

Photo by Rich Foreman

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