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30 March 2006 @ 11:55 pm
Gypsy  
Tonight's entertainment was a musical performance of Gypsy put up by the American Musical Theatre of San Jose - and it was really good. I was shocked! AMTSJ's homegrown productions (and here I am thinking of West Side Story and to a lesser extent The Wizard of Oz) always have a bit of a smack of the regional amateur production; but Gypsy managed to rise above to a genuine, professional performance.

I had never seen a live production of Gypsy before - I'd only seen the movie from '93 with Bette Midler as Madame Rose, Stage Mom from Hell. If you aren't familiar with the story, here's a quick synopsis for you, stolen from AMTSJ.org:
Based on the real life account of renowned burlesque stripper Gypsy Rose Lee, Gypsy is really the story of her mother, Rose and her unflappable desire for super stardom. Fueled by Rose's regrets of her own dreams lost to motherhood and fate, this epic musical covers more than fifteen years in the life of Rose, her two daughters and the gripping mania that drives them to tour the country seeking fame and fortune.

Wielding her daughters as a way to satisfy her own desires to be a star, Rose's destructive obsession eventually drives all the people who love her away, including the one man willing to accept her for who she really is. The evening culminates in the most famous star 'turn' in musical theatre history when Rose takes center stage to finally claim her moment in the spotlight. "Everything's Coming Up Roses," "Let Me Entertain You," and "Some People," are just a sampling of this phenomenal score.

Marya Grandy was simply fantastic as Rose; she poured out Rose's desire and hunger, endless endless hunger for fame and fortune and recognition with a ferocity that rarely graces the stage of the Center for Performing Arts. A strong cast of children performed as her daughters and young wards - they all acted with a talent you wouldn't expect from the under-10 age bracket. The adult performers, too, were stunning.

'Let Me Entertain You' has been stuck in my head ever since Baby June belted it out; the creative costumes of Gypsy Rose Lee are the sort of thing that make me want to run screaming into costume design. I didn't even known AMTSJ was capable of this level of performance - if you're in the area between now and April 9th, you really, really ought to check it out!