Review: The Goodspeed's GYPSY is a Real Good Time!

Everything is coming up Roses at The Goodspeed.

By: May. 27, 2023
Review: The Goodspeed's GYPSY is a Real Good Time!

They say “April showers bring May flowers” and the Goodspeed expertly planted their garden perfectly: This May and June, Everything is coming up roses, with Gypsy!

Goodspeed Musicals opens its 60th anniversary season with its brand new production of the hit musical Gypsy. Due to popular demand, the story of a stage mother striving for her family to reach the top has been extended through June 25th.

With music and lyrics by Broadway legends Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim, respectively, Gypsy’s heartfelt story comes to life with brassy vaudeville numbers, classic ballads, and dazzling burlesque gems.

Gypsy is an iconic musical, though many may not realize just how many of the songs are familiar to them, through not just the 1959 production and 1962 film (starring Natalie Wood and Rosalind Russel), but by way of hundreds of parodies and artistic nods over the last sixty-four years. Audience members will recognize and adore Goodspeed cast’s renditions of “Everything’s Coming Up Roses”, “Some People”, “Let Me Entertain You”, “Little Lamb”, “Mr. Goldstone”, will delight the senses and warm the heart.

The book, by Arthur Laurents, is loosely based on the 1957 memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee and her mother, Rose, the “the ultimate show business mother”. The 1959 Broadway premier received critical acclaim, but puzzlingly missed out on the coveted Tony Award (passed over for The Sound of Music, a disgraceful decision, in my opinion). However, it quickly and firmly rooted into the heart of Broadway and has been revived countless times, finally receiving the Tony Award in 1989 - at long last.

The Goodspeed’s production is nothing short of fantastic. Director Jen Thompson returns to The Goodspeed after directing last summer’s world-premiere Anne of Green Gables and puts an impressive stamp on this iconic musical. Featuring an all-star and undeniably magnificent cast, lead by Broadway veteran and tour-de-force, Judy McLane (Broadway: Mamma MIa! as Donna and Tanya in over 4,000 performances; Kiss of the Spider Woman with Chita Rivera, Aspects of Love, Chess), you do not want to miss this production. Playing her daughters, June and Louise, are Laura Sky Herman (First National Tour: Hello, Dolly!) and Talia Suskauer (Broadway: Wicked, as Elphaba; Broadway and Off-Broadway, Be More Chill), respectively. Their performances are nuanced, delightful, and their beautiful rendition of “If Mama Was Married” lives on as an unexpected memory that I will cherish. Rounding off the showbiz family is Herbie, the agent who acts more as a father figure, expertly played by Philip Hernandez (Broadway: Les Misérables. Hernandez is the only star in Broadway history to play both Jean Valjean and Javert.) Hernandez expertly pulls our heart strings!

Goodspeed’s stellar cast brings the perfect energy and nuance to this remarkable production of Gypsy. The children are mind-glowingly talented, lead by Emily Jewel Hoder (Broadway: The Music Man; Broadway National Tour: Les Misérables) as Baby June. Cameron Blake Miller, Baby Louise, is a perfect match for the pair of showbiz siblings. Reading the children’s extensive and impressive bios is enough to make any adult actor pack up their LaDucas, but their performances showed that they are a force to be reckoned with. Featuring Thomas Goldbach V, Sunny Lauren Hoder, Carlos Velasquez Escamilla, and Bianca Belle Palana, the youth ensemble kicks off the show with unparalleled energy.

Not to be outdone, the adult ensemble (with unforgettable featured roles) raises their game with hilarious and heartfelt performances, in equal measure. The ensemble features Gabe Amati, Romelda Teron Benjamin, Kelly Berman, Amahri Edwards-Jones, Victoria Huston-Elem, Edward Juvier, Meadow Nguy, Maddie Robert, Ben Sears, Michael Starr, Geoffrey Wade, David Cochise Williams, Valerie Wright, Anthony DaSilva (swing), and Brianna Ascione (swing).

Though I would never wish to play favorites, I must make an exception for Chowsie (played by Cha Cha the Chihuahua. Credits: Legally Blonde) Chowsie is a consummate professional and a welcome addition who I hope to see in every future Goodspeed show. What’s that you say? There isn’t a Chihuahua in Dreamgirls? Write her in! Surely, there’s still time to write her into Summerstock, which aptly premieres at the Goodspeed this Summer.

The 8-piece orchestra, lead by Adam Souza, is perfectly balanced, expressive, and packs a punch. The stunningly beautiful and innovative costumes, by Eduardo Sicangco, are a work of art, many of which are show-stopping, with their unexpected intricacy (highlighted especially in “You Gotta Get a Gimmick” and, of course, with all of Louise’s breath-taking gowns). The set is cleverly designed to look like an old-fashioned diner placemat of countless advertisements, highlighting each scene in the show.

So let The Goodspeed’s Gypsy entertain you! Cause you’ll have a real good time, yes, sir! You’ll have a real good time!

Review: The Goodspeed's GYPSY is a Real Good Time! Review: The Goodspeed's GYPSY is a Real Good Time!

Review: The Goodspeed's GYPSY is a Real Good Time!




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From This Author - Ariana Straznicky-Packer

No stranger to the stage, Ariana Straznicky-Packer is a professional violinist whose heart belongs to Broadway. A classically-trained musician, actress, vocalist, and writer, she is full of surprises.... (read more about this author)

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