ETC presents 'Gypsy'

ESSEX - The Essex Theatre Company kicks off its 2009 summer season next week with the award-winning musical, "Gypsy."

Written by Arthur Laurents, with music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, this engaging musical is based on the memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee, but according to director Susan Hughes, "Gypsy" is so much more.

"It's about family and relationships, hopes, dreams and expectations. In addition, it is a salute to the vaudeville theatre of the 1930s," Hughes said.

The story follows Momma Rose and her two daughters, June and Louise as they make the transition from vaudeville to burlesque.

"It's got a lot of different layers to it," said Hughes. "It borders on corny from time to time, but it's also kind of grown-up."

"The music for this show is one of the most memorable scores ever written," Hughes added, noting famous songs like "Let Me Entertain You" and "Everything's Coming Up Roses."

Elizabethtown's own Angel Marvin portrays Momma Rose, the ultimate stage mother who pushes her two young girls into the spotlight.

"It's a bigger role than I anticipated," said Marvin, who described the experience of playing the vivacious character as intense. "She's a bulldozer. When she's not singing, she's yelling."

She is joined by a cast of 24 talented performers, ages eight and up from throughout the Champlain Valley. The production is directed by Susan Hughes, choreographed by Jackie Robertin and accompanied by pianist Jennifer Moore and percussionist Guy Szalkowski.

"It's got everything," said Marvin, "cute kids, dancing, strippers, and a great story."

Performances begin July 15 and continue until July 26, with shows Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 5 p.m. Tickets are $17, with the exception of Wednesday evening, when admission is pay-what-you-can.

All performances are at the Masonic Lodge in Essex. Reservations can be made by calling 524-7708 or by email to tickets@essextheatre.org. "Gypsy" is sponsored by the Westport Marina and Galley Restaurant.

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