Directed by Bill Hale & Kevin D. Smith
Through Dec. 5 Gypsy, the 1959 Broadway musical loosely based on the life of famed stripper Gypsy Rose Lee, has less to do with Gypsy herself than her mother, Rose. Rose was the epitome of the obtuse and over-driven stage mother. No matter what, she was determined to see her Baby June as a star, regardless of bad acts and lack of talent. After June ran away, Rose focused her obsession on neglected Louise, and eventually was the one who pushed her - literally - into stripping, just so Rose could say her child was the leading act. After Louise-turned-Gypsy became a success in burlesque, Rose was left with nothing to drive her life anymore.
The show has seen several successful revivals, and is currently being produced at Footlite Musicals. As Rose, Cathy Tolzmann takes on favorite songs well, such as "Some People," "Small World," "Everything's Coming Up Roses," "Rose's Turn" and as part of the trio in "Together Wherever We Go." Her voice is solid, unquavering and audible (typical sound issues involve the orchestra drowning out singers). As a character, she is just as ornery as she should be.
Other highlights include Jodi Morton, Cindy Collins and Georgeanna Orlich as a trio of outrageous strippers in "You Gotta Get a Gimmick." Carrie Neal as Louise/Gypsy makes a convincing transformation from mealy-mouthed supporting actress to star stripper. And, Drew Stafford shows off some impressive dance moves in "All I Need Is the Girl."
A vagrant spotlight could be seen jumping up in odd places, but other than that, the set, lighting and especially the costumes (costume designer is Patricia Schiro-Long) were appropriate.
Gypsy will continue at Footlite Musicals, 1847 N. Alabama St., through Dec. 5. Tickets and information: 926-6630, www.footlite.org.