MICHIGAN CITY — The Footlight Players will take on the daunting task of producing the musical “Gypsy.”
A musical, the story is loosely based on the life of the Queen of Burlesque, Gypsy Rose Lee, but the true lead of the show is Mama Rose (Caroline Rau), a strong-willed stage-mother who will stop at nothing to make her two daughters Vaudeville stars. She starts the show out by showcasing her daughter, Baby June (Teagen Bennett), on the Vaudeville circuit with Baby Louise (Goldie Samardja) as her back-up dancer. She meets Herbie (Tom LeDonne), who falls for her many charms.
According to Footlight, the audience also gets to watch the youngsters transform right before their eyes and become Dainty June (Lillybelle Nuest) and Louise (Brittney Urban), still doing the same dance routines even though they have outgrown them.
Longing to move on with her life June runs away and elopes with Tulsa (Donavan Barrier), a dancer in the show and actually makes it big in Hollywood as the actress June Havoc. Mama, stuck with the less talented Louise, tries to replace her in June’s role but is unsuccessful. By this time Vaudeville is breathing its last breath, but Herbie is able to find a booking that unbeknownst to him is in a rather seedy house of Burlesque. They are the act to keep the cops out! They are out of money and desperate, so they reluctantly take the job.
Audiences will meet three of the headliners, Tessie Tura (Courtney Mason), Miss Mazeppa (Amanda Sixbury) and Miss Electra (Kristin Allison), who do a song and dance showing off the tricks of the trade. When one of the “stars” doesn’t show up, Mama sees an opportunity of making a star, albeit a burlesque star, out of Louise, renaming her Gypsy Rose Lee.
Director Laura Meyer, her Assistant Janice Rice, Music Director Lee Meyer and Choreographer Lane Grote have selected a cast including Denise Barkow, Tatum Haynes, Mara Huneryager, Chloey Landis, Thom Nelson, Jed Otterson, Ryan Otto, Gabrial Remson, Ella Taylor, Toby Taylor, Rick Valle, Rebecca Waldron, Katelyn West, Charlotte Wildfang and Adam Wogoman.
The musical, which Footlight describes as fun and family friendly, will be presented March 6-8, 13-15 and 20-22. The show times are 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturdays with a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday. Ticket prices are $15 with a $10 price for children 12 and younger.
Footlight Theatre is located at 1705 Franklin St. in downtown Michigan City. This is a small, intimate theater, Footlight said, seating only 80 people so it is recommended to make reservations early. To do so, call the theater hotline at 219-874-4035 and leave a message that includes your full name (spelling might help, the number in your party, which date you prefer and a phone number). You can also make reservations online by clicking the “Reservations” box on the website at footlightplayers.org. A footlight representative will call you back with a confirmation within 48 hours.