Footlight Players’ current production of the musical “Gypsy” opened on March 6 to great applause. The show is listed as a memoir of the great burlesque queen, Gypsy Rose Lee, but we really see the story of the epitome of bound and determined stage mothers. Mama Rose is expertly played by newcomer to Footlight, Caroline Rau. Her voice is strong and exhilarating from her first song, “Small World,” up to the dramatic conclusion, “Rose’s Turn.” Let me preface this critique with acknowledgement of the many cast and crew members that it took to expertly put on this epic of a musical.
The story starts out with Mama overtaking an audition for her “babies,” June and Louise, played respectively by Teagan Bennett and Goldie Samardzia. These two little bundles of dynamite are on their way to becoming very formidable actresses. Along the way we meet the agent, Herbie, Rose’s love interest and provider. Tom LeDonne plays this role with the elfin charm perfectly. I only wish he had more of a chance to show off his vocal skills in a song. We get the chance to see Baby June and Little Louise turn into the mature twosome of Dainty June and Louise, played by Lily Bell Nuest and Brittney Urban. These two ladies have beautiful voices and one of the highlights of the show is their duet together.