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Review: GYPSY at The Studio Theatre brings burlesque to central Arkansas

The production runs through July 3rd.

Review: GYPSY at The Studio Theatre brings burlesque to central Arkansas

Everything definitely came up roses at the opening night of GYPSY at The Studio Theatre, 320 W 7th St., in Little Rock Friday, June 17. Extra seats were brought in on the side to accommodate the demand for access to this show and with good reason-- it is that good! And for extra excitement, it was Director Justin Pike's 40th birthday. They had cake, a special rose drink, and plenty of merriment.

You would think GYPSY (book by Arthur Laurents, music by Jule Styne, and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim) is about the burlesque dancer Gypsy Rose Lee (Annslee Clay), and that is partially correct, but Act I is more about her mother Rose (Kathryn Pryor) and their life that led up to Gypsy becoming a striptease artist. Rose was eager to get out of her pop's house and put together a show for her girls Baby June (Kimmie Ham) and sister Louise (Farrah Sherman). They traveled, added other children to the mix, ate a lot of Chinese food, and was pushed to be vaudeville stars at a time when vaudeville was dying out. Soon theyReview: GYPSY at The Studio Theatre brings burlesque to central Arkansas met up with Herbie (Duane Jackson). He would become their manager and boyfriend to Mother Rose, who was reluctant to get married again since she had been married three times before and made no secret that the girls' careers were her top priority. Years went on, the kids were getting older, and gigs were getting scarce. Older June (Makayla Shipe) elopes with dancer Tulsa (Mac Ricks) and Louise now becomes the focus of the new act. Act II is where the musical really starts to focus on Louise becoming Gypsy Rose Lee. Louise learns how to become a burlesque performer from the three stars of the venue-Mazeppa the trumpet player (Jessica Miller), Tessie Tura the ballet dancer (Maranda Barris), and Electra (Hailey Wisdom). She then must step in to perform and continues performing until she is the highest paid burlesque entertainer. Rose gets upset that Gypsy does not really need her anymore, but they make up in the end.

I do suggest bringing a date and not the kids, but definitely come to this show because the talent will blow you away! Kathryn Pryor's vocals and intense dramatization are amazing. As a mother, I could relate to her character's need for providing a "better" life for her kids and herself, and Pryor embodied that spirit all the way to the end. This is the second time I've seen Annslee Clay perform (first was INTO THE WOODS at The Rep), and let me tell Review: GYPSY at The Studio Theatre brings burlesque to central Arkansas you-I am a fan! Of course, she nailed the singing, but what gets me about her is how she reacts with her facial expressions-I LOVE IT! She doesn't even have to talk to know what she is thinking. Duane Jackson's Herbie was sympathetic-I was cheering him on and hoping he got what he wanted (Rose...which he did not...insert sad face). Also, I don't want to leave out both of the Junes, who were both perfect in their character.

Other noteworthy shout-outs go to the Choreographer Katherine Greer. I loved the transition dance from the younger set of actors to the older set of actors. The strobe lighting was genius. Also, Costumer Maria Castro dressed the cast in some darling and even more outrageous costumes. It really set the tone for the two different worlds.

Review: GYPSY at The Studio Theatre brings burlesque to central Arkansas

This weekend is over, but you have two more weekends left (June 23-July 3) to go see the show, and if it is as popular as it was opening night, you will want to buy your tickets now at https://centralarkansastickets.com. For more information, visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/studiotheatrelr.

Review: GYPSY at The Studio Theatre brings burlesque to central Arkansas




From This Author - Theresa Bertram

Prior to becoming a writer for Broadway World, Theresa Bertram has had an extensive career in the media/entertainment business. Born in Las Vegas, Nevada to a professional poker-playing mother, Theresa’s... (read more about this author)


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