Friday, May 14, 2010


Brecksville’s ‘GYPSY’ exceeds expectations

‘GYPSY’ by Jule Styne, Stephen Sondheim, and Arthur Laurents, is a musical theatre classic. It is based on Gypsy the memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee, the famous striptease artist and her relationship with her mother, Rose, the aggressive show business mother, who appears to be using her daughters to achieve what she never could. In spite of, or maybe because of Rose, Gypsy became a star, and sister June Havoc also achieved acting fame.

I normally don’t review community theatre shows, but I made an exception when I found out that Monica Olejko was coming out of a self-imposed retirement to star as Mama Rose in Brecksville Theatre on the Square’s ‘GYPSY. ‘

I was not disappointed. In fact, the production turned out to be much better than I anticipated. Olejko controls a stage. When she’s on, all eyes are on her. It’s not that she is a scene stealer, it’s just that she is so talented that almost all her moves are right on point. Her versions of “Some People,” “Mr. Goldstone” and “Everything’s Comin’ Up Roses,” were all excellent. Her verbal and physical attack of “Rose’s Turn,” often called Rose’s Lament, was strong and clearly developed the message of Rose’s understanding of why she pushed her daughters to be what she couldn’t be. Wow!

Robb Gibb was excellent as Herbie. “You’ll Never Get Away From Me,” his duet
With Rose, was delightful.

Bridget Chebo was exceptional as Louise. She has an excellent voice and much stage presence.

A strong performance was turned in by Shane Joseph Siniscalchi as Tulsa.

Heather Hersh, Jeanette Stack Luli, Kimberly Bush, and the audience, had a wonderful time during the trio’s bump and grind routine, “You Gotta Get A Gimmick.”

Musical director Georgiann Bodle did an excellent job of making sure her musicians backed up, rather than overpowered the singers.

Director Geoffrey Short kept the show well paced. It would have been nice if he could have worked with some of the support cast to develop clearer and consistent characterizations, but this is community theatre, and that means the quality of the talent can’t be expected to be consistently top drawer.

CAPSULE JUDGEMENT: Thanks to Monica Olejko, Rob Gibb and Bridget Chebo , Brecksville Theatre on the Square’s ‘GYPSY’ was better than most community theatre productions of this show. Nice job!