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‘Gypsy’ opens March 5 on SRT stage

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‘Gypsy’ opens March 5 on SRT stage

Samantha Bruce as Louise and Jake Delaney as Tulsa.

Photo contributed/


POSTED February 24, 2012 8:41 p.m.

SONORA — A burst of trumpet opens the musical classic Gypsy and instantly marks a masterpiece.

Those first four notes pull us straight into the brassy world of vaudeville and Broadway’s brilliant fable of a fierce and focused stage mom with a desperate dream. Join Sierra Rep for an exciting, exhilarating experience. Gypsy opens our 33rd season, playing March 3 through April 22 at Sierra Rep’s East Sonora stage.

After 50 years, Gypsy still soars. It’s filled with humor, pathos and many of the most enduring characters ever to grace the stage. Its unforgettable score includes a string of show biz staples, including “Let Me Entertain You,” “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” “Together Wherever We Go,” “Rose’s Turn” and “All I Need is the Girl.”

“This show is right up there with The King and I, Fiddler on the Roof and My Fair Lady as far as great musical books,” said SRT Artistic Director Scott Viets, who directs and choreographs SRT’s production. “It’s a show I’ve wanted to direct since I first came to SRT. It’s genius. Take away the music and it stands alone as a perfectly crafted play.  Add all these fantastic songs and the show soars above the rest. It’s the epitome of the Broadway musical and an age-old story of a parent living through her children – as long as they’re children, she’s got purpose and she’s desperately holding on.”

Based on the early life of celebrated entertainer Gypsy Rose Lee, the show tells the story of “Mama Rose” and her daughters, June and Louise. Rose is so hungry for show business fame that she gives up everything in her drive to achieve it for her daughters. Rose first fashions a children’s act to showcase her little star, June, and audiences tag along in their life on the road and the backstages of vaudeville. Their lives are at once funny, exciting, appalling and heart wrenching, as Rose dotes on June, leans on Louise and shamelessly crashes through every barrier. Time passes, the Depression hits and vaudeville fades, but Rose just won’t give up. June finally runs off, but Louise stays. With Mama still pushing, they invent a new and unique persona – burlesque’s most celebrated star, Gypsy Rose Lee. Rose is a bit reluctant at first, but Gypsy learns the ropes from some fellow strippers and makes her own transformation. 

Their story is exquisitely captured in the book by Arthur Laurents, the music by Jule Syne and the lyrics by Steven Sondheim. Their creation took Broadway by storm in 1959, with Ethel Merman creating the iconic role of Mama Rose. It played for years with the original cast, and has been wildly successful in a steady string of revivals over the last five decades, with stars such as Bernadette Peters and Patti LuPone.

Gypsy opens Saturday, March 3, and plays through Sunday, April 22, at SRT’s East Sonora Theatre. Thursday and Friday performances begin at 7, Saturday evening performances are at 8 and Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday matinees begin at 2. Ticket prices range from $26 to $32 depending on the day of the performance. Children, group, senior and student discounts are available for select performances.

For performance information or reservations, call SRT’s box office at (209) 532-3120 or visit the theater’s website at www.sierrarep.org.

Gypsy is recommended for age 13 and up. While some of the play takes place in the world of burlesque strippers, costumes are not particularly revealing. For more information on show content, see www.sierrarep.org.

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