By Jessica Braveman Special to The Chronicle
“Gypsy,” originally a Broadway show, tells the story of a mother who, in an attempt to make up for her failed showbiz career, pushes her daughters into performing.
The show is set in the 1920s. After uprooting her daughters from their Seattle home, the mother, Rose (Rita McCann), drags them around the country with her corny vaudeville acts in an attempt to make her children stars. The show follows Rose’s determined struggles and her stubbornness to never give up on her far-fetched dream.
The musical was the Hofstra Department of Drama and Dance’s fall musical, debuting at the John Cranford Adams Playhouse last Friday, Oct. 18.
Hofstra’s performance, directed by James L. Kolb, was overall well done. The sets were detailed and evoked the vaudeville era feeling. From a moving train to the lights surrounding the stage, the set designers ensured a realistic feel. The 1920s style of the burlesque costumes was also impressive, capturing the essence of the time.
The lead actress, McCann, embodied the character of the obsessive mother, giving the role the perfect mix of crazy, passionate and comical.
In the final scene of “Gypsy,” Rose laments her failures in “Rose’s Turn.” McCann poured emotion into the song; you could hear the pain in her voice as she expressed Rose’s despair. She moved about the stage in jerky movements as her character struggled to grasp the situation.
Rose’s daughters, Louise (Rebecca Inderhees) and June (Anna Watts), gave spirited performances and brought personality to their roles.
Louise and June are total opposites; June is the outgoing, younger sister who is constantly in the spotlight, and Louise the quiet, timid older sister who has been overlooked her entire life.
Watts is bubbly and moves around the stage in an excited manner, showing off her character’s star qualities. Inderhees often speaks in a sarcastic voice to express Louise’s exhaustion with the lifestyle forced upon the daughters by their mother.
The entire cast gave such a wholehearted performance, and every single person involved deserves credit for their hard work.
Perhaps the most entertaining performance came from Isaiah Stanley, who played the supporting role of Tulsa, one of the back-ups in the vaudeville acts. His performance of “All I Need Is the Girl” featured a wonderful tap dance routine that kept the audience’s eyes glued to the stage.