REVIEW: 'Gypsy' at The Muny

The very overture of “Gypsy” at The Muny is a highlight of the evening ... and the season.

Harry Hamm
July 30, 2018 - 4:46 pm

Photo courtesy of The Muny

Categories: 

There are two great reasons not to miss “Gypsy” this week at The Muny: One is the bravura performance of Broadway star and one of the Muny’s finest, Beth Leavel, as Mama Rose. (Welcome home, Beth!) She gives a vigorous, dominating performance.

Next is The Muny’s grand orchestra, who handle the challenging, pounding and sometimes haunting score in a manner that make their work worth the price of admission alone. The very overture of “Gypsy” at The Muny is a highlight of the evening ... and the season.

“Gypsy” is a legendary show because of its original and sometimes maddening storyline, plus the fact that few productions have matched its timeless quality and impact.

Lest I forget, Adam Heller as Herbie, Rose’s partner in showbiz crime, is low-key but high-impact in his performance. I remember him from his wonderful work at The Rep in their production of “Follies.” Both performances were unforgettable.

Rob Ruggiero’s direction is highly detailed and supremely compelling. Number’s like “Small World,” “You’ll Never Get Away from Me” and “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” live the in paragon of Broadway’s best.

On opening night, some of the staging seemed a little clunky. Too many times stagehands were as clearly visible as the performers. I realize The Muny stage is a challenge, but there has to be a better way.

As a kid, I got the chance to see Ethel Merman as Rose when “Gypsy” played the American Theater. She was great, but at the risk of blaspheme, Beth Leavel is better.

The show runs through Thursday. Click here for more details.

4 Stars