In the last days of summer, amid a lot of bad news about the state of American theater, the good old Marriott Theater in Lincolnshire put on a terrific, affordable staging of an ungenerous and emotionally jarring new production, “Gypsy.” delves into the psychological foundations of this great American masterpiece.
I feel entitled to speak for those of us who have watched 50 or more productions of this show and who, despite the greatness of Arthur Laurents’ book and the Jule Styne soundtrack, always wonder if the last one is worth the car, train, or effort. It certainly offers real rewards. Your heart.
Here you are so worried about Madame Rose, who is disappointed in life and love. And you definitely feel for June and Louise, two girls who have to deal with Hades’ stage mother.
Director Amanda Dehnert directed a kinetic “Gypsy”; By this I mean that he makes the musical move at a fast pace, constantly aware of the high emotional stakes. This has a lot to do with Collette Pollard’s preposterous set (the most daring design in this theater in years) and even the top cast of Broadway credits.
Lauren Maria Medina, who plays Louise, pays attention to one thing above all: her character’s desire to be seen by her mother. In scenes where Louise finds Lucia Spina’s Rose irresistible, and there are scenes, she shows us rebellion as strong as a branch. All Rose had to do was clap her hands, and in two and a half hours Louise was back where she knew she didn’t want to be. Medina’s listening skills reveal her performance.
If you’re a fan of the score (and who isn’t?), you’ll enjoy listening to both Spina’s and Medina’s interpretation of the music. Spina’s Rose is in the Patti LuPone school in that her performance has strength and courage and has absolutely none of the protective brilliance of show business that you often see in Rose in your garden or garden. Not here. Dehnert clearly wanted to show that Rose is always one step ahead of destruction, and Spina makes you believe that not only is crisis imminent, but that she is a woman whose absence would mean loss of center for him. life force.
Which brings me to Herbie, played by Nathaniel Stampley, who wanted to be a center but couldn’t. Herbie is often a hindrance or accomplice; It’s not in Stampley’s hands. Her Herbie is important in every way, and that’s why you’re always aware of the bounty Rose pays Rose throughout the show.
Add in some terrific on-camera roles like the inimitable Emily Rohm as Tessie Tura (and others) or the gorgeous Elin Joy Seiler as Baby June (she does everything) and you have a feast of rich Laurents characters. It describes the fundamental conflict between those who know themselves and those who prefer to be ignorant. Tori Heinlein is as unconditionally cynical as the old June, even as J’Kobe Wallace’s Tulsa maintains the show’s hopeful stance on risk and escape and teaches Louise ways to get out.
“Gypsy” is one of those shows that is always momentary – and your critic, feeling the pain of a newly emptied home, was there with Rose’s desire to finally turn back time.
No, he can’t. We’d better just turn on the lights.
Chris Jones is a Tribune critic.
Review: “Gypsy” (3.5 stars)
When: Until October 15
Where: Marriott Theatre, 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire
Running time: 2 hours 35 minutes
Tickets: $50-65 at 847-634-0200 and marriotttheatre.com