published Thursday, July 17th, 2014

'Gypsy' opens in Crossville

Weslie Webster, Jason Ross and DeAnna Etchison, from left, star in the Cumberland County Playhouse production of “Gypsy.”
Weslie Webster, Jason Ross and DeAnna Etchison, from left, star in the Cumberland County Playhouse production of “Gypsy.”
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Everything's coming up roses in Crossville, Tenn., as the Cumberland County Playhouse brings one of the greatest American musicals to the stage. "Gypsy," loosely based on the 1957 memoirs of famed striptease artist Gypsy Rose Lee, opens Friday, July 18, for a seven-week run.

Set during the fading vaudeville circuit of the 1920s, "Gypsy" tells the story of the archetypal stage mother, Rose, and her daughters, June and Louise. Bold and brassy, yet remarkably charming, Rose steamrolls everyone in her way to turn her daughters into child stars. When June, the younger, more talented daughter, defects, Rose sinks all her hopes into the elder, Louise, who must adapt her skills from vaudeville to burlesque.

"Gypsy" was created by three theatrical giants: The book is by two-time Tony Award winner Arthur Laurents, with music by two-time Tony Award winner Jule Styne and lyrics by multiple Tony Award winner Stephen Sondheim.

The legendary score boasts many songs that became popular standards, including "Everything's Coming Up Roses," "Together Wherever We Go," "Let Me Entertain You" and "All I Need Now Is the Girl."


What: "Gypsy."

When: July 18-Sept. 5 (showtimes vary).

Where: Cumberland County Playhouse, 221 Tennessee Ave., Crossville, Tenn.

Admission: $26 adults, $25 seniors, $13 children.

Phone: 931-484-5000.


Note: "Gypsy" is rated PG.

The Playhouse production will feature some of the company's most powerful performers. In main roles are Weslie Webster as Rose, DeAnna Etchison as Louise and newcomer Elizabeth Wyld as June.

The supporting cast features Jason Ross as Rose's love interest, Herbie; Austin Price as Tulsa, the lead male dancer in Rose's troupe; Anya Reichers and Natalie Underwood double-cast as Baby June; and Caitlin McMahon as Baby Louise.

Britt Hancock is directing, and Leila Nelson is choreographer.

Also at the Playhouse are "Smoke on the Mountain" through Aug. 8 and "Shrek the Musical" through Aug. 31.


"Gypsy" has been referred to as the greatest American musical by numerous critics and writers.

■ Ben Brantley described as "what may be the greatest of all American musicals ..."

■ Frank Rich wrote that "'Gypsy' is nothing if not Broadway's own brassy, unlikely answer to 'King Lear.'"

■ Theater critic Clive Barnes wrote, "'Gypsy' is one of the best of musicals ..." and described the character of Rose as "one of the few truly complex characters in the American musical."

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