With Philadelphia's own Broadway actress Kristine Fraelich as Mama Rose, the ultimate aggressive stage mother, this powerful story of a mother and her daughters presents a dark side of show business wrapped in a Jule Styne score which contains some of the most iconic show tunes of all time. Stephen Sondheim's lyrics create an irony within the tune-filled melodies of "Let Me Entertain You" and "You'll Never Get Away From Me". Whatever her intentions, Mama Rose certainly leaves an impression as she pushes her daughters toward the pinnacle of stardom.
Fraelich was seen in "The Addams Family" last season as Alice, giving a bravura performance which allowed her to showcase shimmering vocals. She'll do the same this fall in "Gypsy" belting out "Some People", "Everything's Coming Up Roses", and "Rose's Turn". She's appeared on Broadway in the original cast of "The Civil War" and in the 1st National Tour of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" as the Narrator. Locally she's been seen at The Walnut Street Theater, The Arden, and The Eagle. She worked with Tony award winning composer Jason Robert Brown in "Songs For A New World" at Symphony Space in NYC.
Kristine Fraelich will be joined on stage by Kelly Briggs as Herbie. Briggs was seen at Media in "Les Miserables", "The Miracle Worker", "Hello Dolly", and "Mame" (in the latter two shows he co-starred with Andrea McArdle).
Anna Giordano, who recently received rave reviews in The Media Theatre's production of "Ghost: The Musical", returns to portray Louise. Dainty June is played by Taylor Elise Rector.
Their younger counterparts, Young Louise and Baby June, will be double cast. Cassidy Else and Amia Shavaun will share performances as Young Louise, while Media's own Ava Briglia and Bucks County's Portia Murphy take on the role of Baby June.
The Newsboys will also share performances. Six talented young students from The Media Theatre will each perform three or four times per week in groups of three. They are Josh Atkinson, Zachary Divito, Sean O' Neill, Ben Pedersen, Carter Weiss, and Tim Woodward.
Of course, those boys grow up to be the Farmboys in Mama Rose's act. The older boys are Glenn Britton, Kyle Segarra, and JD Triolo (seen last year in "Addams Family" as Pugsley). The plum role of Tulsa is portrayed by Avery Sobczak.
Those three amusing strippers are Jennie Eisenhower (Tessi), Hillary Parker (Mazeppa), and Karen Toto (Electra).
The character male ensemble is made up of Jim Conte (Pop/ Cigar/ Kringelein), JP Dunphy (Weber/ Stage Hand), Roger Ricker (Goldstone/ Pastey), and John Whitig (Jocko/ Santa). Megan Rucidlo is Agnes, with other Hollywood Blondes being Kimberly Maxson as well as two of Media Theatre's teen students-Katie Davis and Julia Seeley. Elisa Fucich plays two roles: Cratchitt and Renee.
Several members of The Media Theatre's New School make up the youth ensemble.
Holden Dubach is the Clarinet Boy, with Sophie Leone and Hanna Murphy sharing the role of the Balloon Girl. Aiden Fox, Bridget Henry, and Alexsa McKeown share the stage in the Uncle Jocko scene.
"Gypsy" is directed by Jesse Cline, with music direction by Chris Ertelt. Dann Dunn is the choreographer.
For tickets to "Gypsy" at The Media Theatre, which runs September 23 to November 1, call 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org. Group rates are available. Performances are Wednesdays at 2pm, Thursdays at 2pm and 7:30pm, Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 2 and 8pm, and Sundays at 3pm. Premium seating is also available.
The theatre is seeking a dog to play Chowsie, which should be a small dog, no more than seven pounds. Email Roger Ricker at email@example.com if you think you may have the star dog!