In case you've never seen Gypsy, based on the memoir of real life burlesque performer Gypsy Rose Lee, here's a plot summary borrowed from what I wrote about Bloomington Civic Theatre's production in 2014.
We first meet Rose and her daughters Louise and June in an audition, as she famously calls out directions including "sing out, Louise!" Baby June is the star, a pretty and precocious little girl in blond ringlets, and Louise is the older and less talented daughter forced into the shadows. Rose promises her girls she will make them stars, and travels around the country getting them bigger and better gigs with the help of Herbie, their manager who's also an unofficial husband/father figure to the family. Louise and June soon outgrow the little girl act but their mother refuses to let them grow up. A teenage June runs away with one of the boys in the act to form their own act. Herbie and Louise encourage Rose to walk away and concentrate on their family, but Rose is not someone who gives up. She turns all of her focus to making Louise a star in a recycled version of the old act. But Vaudeville is dying, so the act ends up in a Burlesque theater. Rose promises that this will be the last gig and she will marry Herbie and walk away when it's over. But when given the chance to make Louise a star in the Burlesque world, she takes it, and shoves Louise into the spotlight. Surprisingly, Louise takes to this new role and shines, not needing her mother any more. In one of the most famous musical theater songs, Rose makes one final plea to the universe, asking when it will be "Rose's Turn" after all she's sacrificed.
|it's Mama Rose's turn (Wendy Short-Hays, photo by Dena Denny)|
|you gotta get a gimmick (the Kellys O'Sullivan, Nelson, and Danger|
with Francesca Wilson, photo by Dena Denny)
Gypsy continues at Hanifl Center for the Performing Arts weekends through October 6. Click here for info and details.