S. Carroll High Dramatists Stage 'Gypsy'

Spectacular Features Much Song, Dance

May 01, 1991|By Jane Lippy | Jane Lippy,Contributing writer

WINFIELD — Songs, dances, spectacular costumes, innovative scenery, and a real,live canine will be featured when the play "Gypsy" opens this weekend at South Carroll High.

The production will be presented in the school's auditorium tomorrow through Saturday.

Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. performances are $4 for adults and $3 for students and senior citizens. The play is sponsored by the South Carroll High drama club.

Contrary to popular belief, "Gypsy" is notthe story of burlesque queen Gypsy Rose Lee, said director Michael Hoover, a South Carroll English and creative writing instructor for six years.

She's a major character in the musical, but the plot revolves around Mother Rose, a typically overbearing, meddling, stage mother who has two daughters. Daughter Louise later became the exotic Gypsy Rose Lee. Her sister, June, later starred in Hollywood movies as June Havoc.

In the mother-daughter struggle, the daughter takes command. The story teaches the value of family, strength gained from friendships, and importance of hard work, Hoover said.

"We see her character develop," the director said. "Rose can learn from her daughter."

Vanessa Lee, a senior, plays Rose. She describes her character as "overbearing, loud and insecure.

"She just takes over," Lee said. "She's jealous of her kids and pushes them because she never made it."

In addition to reciting her lines, the 17-year-old studentsings six songs and changes costumes six times. Through this play and a previous role in "The Mouse That Roared," she's found "I'd like to go into theater.

"I like the spotlight," she said. "Mr. Hoover is a great director."

The play also features Snuffles, Maggie Beasley's tiny mutt.

Four actresses fill the roles of Rose's daughters.Jen Cavey and Colleen Brown are Baby Louise and Baby June. Kim Nichols and Tracey Clagett portray them as women.

Matt Palmerton plays Herbie, Rose's agent and romantic interest, whom she promises to marry "as soon as the show closes." Somehow it just seems to keep moving -- New York, Detroit, Philadelphia and Seattle.

Palmerton, a veteran of eight shows and in his second lead role, finds Herbie conservative, a worrywart, and unselfish.

"He's a total contrast to me," said the 17-year old senior, who plans to major in fire science at the University of Maryland. "It's a lot of fun to come to practice. Mr. Hoover just makes suggestions, nudges you, and lets you be creative."

Kevin King, choral music teacher, coordinates the 23 musical numbers, provides piano accompaniment, and directs the singers in "Let Me Entertain You," "Everything's Coming Up Roses," "Together Wherever WeGo," and the show's other songs. He and Hoover discussed what talentwas available and selected this show.

Bradley Collins, instrumental music teacher, directs the student orchestra.

Kelly Clutter designed the unique set, with help from student director Cindy Green. Both received direction from Terry Eckard and Carl Miller, who teach art and drafting at South Carroll.

As student stage manager, Kelley Wachter, using headphones, "makes sures everything goes smoothly between the stage and lighting booth," she said. From behind the scenes the sophomore organizes the many stage details for the two-act 17-scene presentation, such as when performers enter and exit.

South Carroll graduate Chris Patrick designed the lighting as part of a course at the University of Maryland. Sue Christenbury, physics and photography teacher, is lighting director. Lynette Brown, also a graduate of South Carroll, is choreographer.

Parents Jan Goodell and Jeannine Blair are working on costumes with Joan Bradford of The Costume Shoppe in Westminster. Among Bradford's creations is a gladiator outfit complete with electric lights.

"Gypsy" is adapted from the book by Arthur Laurents, with music by Jules Styne and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. The play was produced for Broadway by David Merrick and Leland Hayward. The original cast starred legendary vocalist Ethel Merman.

South Carroll's 1990 production, "The Music Man," played to sell-outaudiences on two nights for the first time ever, Hoover said.

Tickets for "Gypsy" will be on sale at the door or in advance.

For information and tickets: 795-8500.

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