A Gypsy in the Valley

everything’s coming up Sondheim for CVTG

Emily Anderson, photos by Andrea Paulseth

CONTROL TOUCH MUCH? The principle players for the Chippewa Valley Theater Guild’s production of Stephen Sondheim’s Gypsy.
 
CONTROL TOUCH MUCH? The principle players for the Chippewa Valley Theater Guild’s production of Stephen Sondheim’s Gypsy.

The Chippewa Valley Theatre Guild is bringing vaudeville back to The State Theatre. Seventeen years ago director Ron Kreinke put on the musical Gypsy for the Guild, and now he’s doing it again! 

Based on the life of dancer and actress Gypsy Rose Lee, Gypsy is set at a time when vaudeville was beginning to die out. Sisters June and Louise are forced into the world of vaudeville by their overprotective mother, Rose. Rose would like June to be the star, but it’s Louise that finds herself becoming Gypsy Rose Lee, the star stripper in a burlesque hall. Even though the show is named after Louise and she is the star of the act, the real star of the show is Rose. She is a woman who will stop at nothing to give her children the chance to be what she couldn’t, a star. 

While still a classic, Gypsy is different than many of the usual classic musicals. There are no big production numbers, and it’s rare to see more than five people on stage. Instead, the songs in this production (Let Me Entertain You, Everything’s Comin’ Up Roses, Together, Wherever We Go) showcase the talent of the individuals. And talent they have … 

As usual, the cast is full of exceptionally talented actors and singers. Seonaid Barngrover and Keith Lorasch play Louise and her agent Herbie. Lorasch portrays the love-struck agent effortlessly and Barngrover is perfect as the shy Louise, hiding behind her sister’s shadow, and the confident star. Linda Baxa has taken on the demanding role of Rose and she delivers. She captures the drive of Rose and can sing like nobody’s business. 

And if all that talent isn’t enough for you, there’s a trio of strippers, a live dog, and countless hilarious renditions of the same act, each with a different group of dancers, revamped by Rose for her children as they get older.

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