Review Roundup: GYPSY at The Engeman Theatre
GYPSY will play at the John W. Engeman Theatre on Long Island through October 29. A musical theatre classic, GYPSY follows the story of Louise, who went from an awkward young girl to famous burlesque star Gypsy Rose Lee. See the life of sisters June and Louis and their overbearing stage mother Rose. The show features classic songs such as "Let Me Entertain You," "Everything's Coming Up Roses," and "If Mama Was Married." GYPSY has a book by Arthur Laurents, music by Jule Styne, and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.
The cast stars Austen Danielle Bohmer as Louise, Michele Ragusa as Rose, John Scherer as Herbie, Bryan Thomas Hunt as Tulsa, Charity Van Tassel as Dainty June. The cast aso features Emily Blake Anderson, Kieran Brown, Mack Brunner, Amber Carson, Kayle Carter, Todd Fenstermarker, Patrick Heffernan, Tyler Huckstep, Emily Kelly, Suzanne Mason, Meghan Mcinnies, Christopher McKenna, Shelby Putlak, Caitlin Lester Sams, Joshua J. Schwartz, Amanda Swinkle, Evan Teich, Jennifer Collester Tully, and Michael J. Verre.
The show is directed by Igor Goldin and choreographed by Drew Humphrey, with musical direction by Alex Bart, associate direction by Trey Compton, scenic design by Nate Bertone, costume design by Kurt Alger, lighting design by Sach Blane, and sound design by Laura Shubert.
Let's see what the critics had to say!
Barbara Schuler, Newsday: From the moment she enters with that famous line, "Sing out, Louise," echoing from the back of the theater, Michele Ragusa as Mama Rose has you in her grip. Following in impressive footsteps - Ethel Merman, the first Rose, was followed by, among others, Angela Lansbury, Patti LuPone and Bernadette Peters - Ragusa is a wall of steel in portraying the steadfast determination required to get her daughters top billing, or any billing, really, on the vaudeville circuit... That doesn't stop Rose from her relentless pushing, first with June (played by an adorable Kyla Carter as a child, then a somewhat grown up Charity Van Tassel), later with Louise (a delightfully dour Amanda Swickle as a kid, an older Austen Danielle Bohmer in a beautifully nuanced performance).
Melissa Giordano, BroadwayWorld: 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... 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.