with full 39-piece orchestra
September 9-19, 2011
at Irving Arts Center’s Carpenter Hall
Before there was “Toddlers and Tiaras,” there was Mama Rose. Lyric Stage opens its 19th season with GYPSY the story of Rose Hovick, the mother of all stage mothers, and her relentless pursuit of stardom for her two daughters, Louise and June. The production runs September 9-19, 2011 and performances are in the Irving Arts Center’s Carpenter Performance Hall.
GYPSY has been celebrated as the greatest American musical by numerous critics and writers, including Ben Brantley and Frank Rich of The New York Times. Rich called GYPSY American musical theatre’s answer to King Lear. The show, with music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by Arthur Laurents, is loosely-based on the memoirs of legendary striptease artist, Gypsy Rose Lee. The score contains many popular standards, including “Everything’s Coming up Roses,” “Some People” and “Let Me Entertain You.” The Lyric Stage production of GYPSY will be the first since the 1959 original Broadway production to be performed with a full, 39-piece orchestra playing Sid Ramin and Robert Ginzler’s original orchestrations.
GYPSY has enjoyed four Broadway revivals since its 1959 debut and, over the years, the music and orchestrations have been reworked to fit production needs. Jay Dias, Music Director at Lyric Stage, has been working closely with the Jule Styne estate to restore the musical to its full, 1959 sound. Dias describes the process saying, “When the show opened at the Broadway Theater in 1959, Jule Styne had orchestrators Sid Ramin and Robert Ginzler use a string section that consisted of violins, cellos, and bass. After the initial Broadway run closed, the orchestration was adjusted to allow for theatres to use a more conventional string section division. For the Lyric Stage production, Jule Styne’s estate and Sid Ramin himself have not only given permission for the original GYPSY cello parts to be restored, but an originally written acoustic guitar part, cut before the first rehearsal due to budget and seating capacity of the pit, will finally be heard. Lyric Stage’s production will form the basis for the Jule Styne estate’s work on the critical edition of the score, and it’s quite a thrill that Lyric Stage audiences will soon be part of this major step in the restoration of one of the greatest scores in American musical theatre.”
Lyric Stage Founding Producer Steven Jones has reassembled the powerful creative team from last season’s critically acclaimed production of MY FAIR LADY. GYPSY will be piloted by Director/Choreographer Len Pfluger and Lyric Stage Music Director Jay Dias will conduct the 39 member Lyric Stage orchestra.
Sue Mathys, star of the original German production of SUNSET BLVD, will star as Rose. Mary McElree, last seen at Lyric Stage as Kim in BYE BYE BIRDIE, will play Louise and Sonny Franks, last seen at Lyric Stage as Doolittle in MY FAIR LADY, will play Herbie. Ashton Smalling, Baby June in the Ravinia Festival production of GYPSY that starred Patti LuPone, will play Dainty June. Caitlin Carter, of Broadway’s CHICAGO, will play Tessie Tura. Also in the cast are Shannon McGrann (Electra), Sara Shelby-Martin (Mazeppa), Michael Whitney (Tulsa), Kevin Acosta, Alex Altshuler, Brian Boyce, Luke Boyce, Mallory Brophy, Caitlin Darby, Michelle Foard, Gordon Fox, Katharine Gentsch, Ben Giddings, Hunter Hall, Skylar Halliday, Taylor Hennings, Logan Macaulay, Chet Monday, Bella Murphy, Stephen Raikes, Thomas Renner, Neil Rogers, Michael Sylvester, Chloe Voreis, Lisa Ward, Keith Warren, James Williams and Kristen Wright.