Friday’s performance of the musical “Gypsy” showed the talent and professionalism of Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Visual and Performing Arts Department.
It is said to be one of the most quintessential and beloved musicals of the 20th century and is the ultimate story of the aggressive stage mother, Mama Rose (Carole Healey), and her quest to get her daughters into show business, something she wishes she had done when she was younger.
Rose, Baby June (Zoe Considine) and Young Louise (Montana Byrne) travel throughout the United States in the 1920s when vaudeville is dying and burlesque is booming.
For this production, directors Stephen Hollis and Allen Cohen decided to bring in children from the community, as well as a professional actress to assist in the enhancement of the musical.
Mama Rose is such a major part of the show and so demanding, the two thought it would be “unfair and unrealistic to expect a student to carry off the emotional and technical skills the role requires,” according to the playbill.
Healey has acted and directed in many major regional theaters throughout the United States, including The Oregon Shakespeare Company, Missouri Repertory Company and Two Rivers Theater Company.
She has also been on television shows like “Law and Order” and “Guiding Light.”
Healey made Mama Rose a loathed character, which was the point. There were many times where I wanted to go on the stage and yell at her; this is how you know she did her job well.
Arguably, Healey is not the only actress with impressive credits to her name. Considine could be considered a professional actress as well. Most recently, she was on Nickelodeon’s Kids Promo Awards with Will Smith and Cameron Diaz and “Saturday Night Live,” where she played HPV girl with Kristen Wiig.
Byrne has sung alongside Elmo, Rosita and Baby Bear on “Sesame Street” and with talented recording artists like Kenny Rogers.
The musical went off without a hitch, initially.
Yet no more than ten minutes into the show, the adorable Baby June ran off the stage during her song. The others in the scene with her kept going, making the audience think that it was part of the show.
Yet everyone quickly learned that she fell ill.
Luckily, it was at the point of the show where Baby June was no longer a baby anymore so June (Julie Dwoskin) was able to take over the role.
Friday’s performance included some beautiful songs and great acting.
A favorite of mine was “If Mama was Married,” which showcased Louise (Megan Barrios) and June’s voices perfectly. The harmonies in that song were enough to leave me with chills.
“Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” a song that many people have probably heard before, was another hit. Healey sang the song with intense passion.
Furthermore, some of the most memorable acting came from Mama Rose’s love interest, Herbie (Reuben Natan), and quick-witted secretary, Miss Cratchitt (Ashley La Selva), whose simple walk to answer the telephone got audiences laughing every time.
Overall, the play was entertaining. If you have not yet seen “Gypsy,” there are still some performances left: April 13 and 14 at 8 p.m. and April 15 at 2:30 p.m.