Gypsy | Cahn Auditorium, Northwestern University | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Lexis Danca

Lexis Danca

Brett Beiner

When: Wednesdays-Sundays. Continues through Aug. 27 2017
Price: $34-$96
musictheaterworks.com
"Gypsy has long been regarded by many as the greatest book musical of all time," Music Theater Works artistic director Rudy Hogenmiller writes in the program notes for his company's production of the classic show. Count me among those many. With a crackling book by Arthur Laurents and tuneful, witty songs by veteran composer Jule Styne and up-and-coming lyricist Stephen Sondheim—fused into a seamless whole under the genius guidance of original director Jerome Robbins—Gypsy is the fact-based (but highly fictionalized) story of how Seattle single mom Rose Hovick tried to turn her daughters into vaudeville stars, refusing to realize that vaudeville was in its Depression-era death throes. Burlesque, however, was thriving, and Hovick's elder child became Gypsy Rose Lee, the highest-paid stripper in showbiz, whose memoir inspired this 1959 Broadway hit. Hogenmiller's staging emphasizes the show's comical and sentimental aspects, driven by Mary Robin Roth's brassy portrayal of "Madame Rose," the overbearing, frustrated stage mother wondering when it's going to be her turn in the limelight. —Albert Williams

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