BWW Review: Let GYPSY At The Engeman Entertain You
Northport's exquisite John W. Engeman Theatre does it again with a stellar version of the iconic Laurents/Styne/Sondheim musical Gypsy. The Tony winner runs at the Long Island venue through October 29th excellently directed by Engeman vet Igor Goldin boasting an outstanding cast. And I know you are probably saying that there are showings of this everywhere you look. However, when you have a production like this, it definitely warrants another visit.
First on Broadway in 1959, the tale, set in the early 1920's into the 1930's, is based on the memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee. We follow Louise, the role Gypsy is based on, as she goes from a gawky teen performing in kiddie acts to a burlesque icon. It focuses on her relationship with her mother, Rose, who has gained a reputation for being a difficult manager and stage mom. Beneath the commanding persona, Rose's heart is in the right place as she wants to protect her daughters - Louise and June - from the mean side of the show business machine.
Austen Danielle Bohmer, in her Engeman debut, superbly portrays Louise. Particularly impressive is her overall transformation from the awkward early years to the time she begins burlesque as a mature young woman. A terrific voice and keen sense of what the role needed make her a natural. And Michele Ragusa is thrilling as Mama Rose. Certainly a favorite among the enthusiastic audience is her powerful renditions of the classic numbers "Everything's Coming Up Roses" and "Rose's Turn". Additionally, John Scherer is a highlight portraying Herbie, Mama's boyfriend and sometimes manager for the girls. Indeed his performances of "Small World" and "You'll Never Get Away From Me" with Ms. Ragusa receive thunderous applause.
The entire large cast is truly extraordinary as is the clever creative team. Nate Bertone's set is smart and seems easily movable for seamless scene changes (though possible excessive visibility of those doing the changes might prove a little distracting). This is enhanced stunningly by Zach Blane's lighting and Laura Shubert's top notch sound design. And Kurt Alger's costumes shine in the visually gorgeous production. Special kudos, too, to Music Director Alec Bart who leads the wonderful live orchestra.
And so, Gypsy is undoubtedly another hit for the Engeman. A classic of musical theatre and an absolutely boffo cast make for an entertaining night of theatre.
Gypsy is presented by the John W. Engeman Theatre of Northport, Long Island, through October 29th. For more information and to purchase tickets, please call (631) 261-2900 or visit www.engemantheater.com
Book by Arthur Laurents, Music by Jule Styne, Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, Directed by Igor Goldin (Engeman Theater: Oklahoma!, 1776, Memphis, West Side Story, The Producers, Evita, Twelve Angry Men, South Pacific; Off-Broadway: YANK!, With Glee, A Ritual of Faith, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, Crossing Swords), Choreography by Drew Humphrey (Engeman Theater: Oklahoma!, Irving Berlin's White Christmas, Thoroughly Modern Millie, A Chorus Line (Director)), Musical Direction by Alec Bart (Engeman Theater: Grease; Broadway: Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 (Sub); Tours: 42nd Street, Cabaret), Associate Director Trey Compton (Engeman Theater: Oklahoma!, South Pacific, Twelve Angry Men, The Music Man, Evita, The Producers, West Side Story; Off-Broadway: YANK!, White's Lies), Associate Choreographer is Kelly Sheehan (Engeman Theater: Oklahoma!, A Chorus Line; Broadway: 42nd Street, Irving Berlin's White Christmas), Set Design by Nate Bertone, Costume & Wig Design by Kurt Alger, Lighting Design by Zach Blane, Sound Design by Laura Shubert, Casting by Wojcik/Seay Casting, Prop Design by Suzanne Mason, Stage Management by Sean Francis Patrick, Assistant Stage Manager Leila Scandar
Starring Austen Danielle Bohmer as Louise (Regional: Goodspeed Opera House, Variety Theatre St. Louis, The Rep. Theatre of St. Louis, Mustard Seed Theatre, Grandstreet Theatre, New Theatre), Michele Ragusa as Rose (Engeman Theater: Thoroughly Modern Millie, Lend Me a Tenor, Boeing Boeing; Broadway: Young Frankenstein, Urinetown, Ragtime, Titanic, A Class Act, Cyrano; Off-Broadway: Adrift in Macao, Titanic Lincoln Center Concert; Regional: Bullets Over Broadway, Mame, Hello Dolly, A Funny Thing... Forum, The King and I, Spamalot, Sweeney Todd, Annie, Noises Off, Singing In The Rain, Into the Woods, Kiss Me Kate, The Drowsy Chaperone, Company, Mary Poppins, Guys and Dolls, The Full Monty), John Scherer as Herbie (Engeman Theater: Boeing Boeing; Broadway: Lovemusik, By Jeeves, Sunset Boulevard; Tours: 42nd Street, Cats, Irving Berlin's White Christmas, Mame, Hello Dolly!; Off-Broadway: Dames at Sea, Olympus on My Mind, Preppies; TV/Film: Spinning Into Butter, The Shield, Crossing Jordan, Law & Order, Titus, Guiding Light), Bryan Thomas Hunt as Tulsa, Charity Van Tassel as Dainty June with Emily Blake Anderson, Kieran Brown, Mack Brunner, Amber Carson, Kyla Carter, Todd Fenstermaker, Patrick Heffernan, Tyler Huckstep, Emily Kelly, Suzanne Mason, Meaghan McInnes, Christopher McKenna, Shelby Putlak, Caitlin Lester Sams, Joshua J. Schwartz, Amanda Swickle, Evan Teich, Jennifer Collester Tully, and Michael J. Verre