Western Carolina University’s School of Stage and Screen continues its spring Mainstage theatre season as the beloved classic musical “Gypsy” opens Thursday, April 14.
Performances are scheduled at WCU’s John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. April 14 through Saturday, April 16, and at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 17.
“Gypsy,” with book by Arthur Laurents, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and music by Jule Styne, is loosely based on the memoir of Gypsy Rose Lee, a notorious burlesque performer. The story centers around Mama Rose, a larger-than-life stage mother and impresario to her daughters, June and Louise. The family story unfolds as the Vaudeville era comes to an end and is replaced by the burgeoning “talkies.”
“Gypsy” combines family drama with the glitz and glamor of show business, and intimate and heartfelt character songs are interlaced with highly spirited numbers, said Jayme McGhan, director of the School of Stage and Screen. The production is accompanied by a 22-piece live orchestra.
Elena Maria Cope, a senior musical theatre major from Sylva, takes on the role of Mama Rose, and Michael Gallagher, a senior acting major from Morrisville, plays her love interest, Herbie. Louise/Gypsy is played by Kylee Verhoff, a junior musical theatre major from Jacksonville, and that character’s sister, June, is portrayed by Kelsey Aycock, a sophomore musical theatre major from Henderson.
The large ensemble of theatre and musical theatre students is supplemented by a cast of child performers from the Cullowhee and Sylva areas, as well as a few live animals.
Students and faculty from the School of Stage and Screen are thrilled to have Sarah Norris, a New York City-based director and artistic director of New Light Theatre Project, guest directing the production, McGhan said. Others contributing to the show are Katya Stanislavskaya, music direction; John Scacchetti, choreography; Andrew Mannion, set design; Susan Brown-Strauss, costume design; Daniel Gonko, sound design; David Bortle, lighting design; and Miranda Poindexter, properties mistress.
The production contains adult themes and uses strobe lighting effects.
The April 16 presentation of “Gypsy” will be the centerpiece of an evening of fundraising activities organized by WCU’s Friends of the Arts to benefit students in the College of Fine and Performing Arts. For more information, visit the Friends of the Arts website at foa.wcu.edu.
Tickets for “Gypsy” are $25 for adults, $20 for senior citizens and WCU faculty and staff, and $10 for students. Tickets are available by contacting the Bardo Arts Center box office at 828-227-2479 or online at bardoartscenter.wcu.edu.
— Contributed information