It's Judy's turn. Tony Award winner Judy Kaye (Ragtime, The Phantom of the Opera) assays the diva-making role of ultimate stage mother Rose in Gypsy, playing May 1-20 at Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre. Sloan Just (Jesus Christ Superstar, On the Town co-stars as Louise, the shy young girl who becomes stripper Gypsy Rose Lee. Seattle actor Stephen Godwin plays Herbie, the kindly former candy salesman who serves as the closest thing she's had to a father figure and as a lover to her mother, the monstrously determined Rose.
Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre is the perfect spot for a production of the Jule Styne-Stephen Sondheim-Arthur Laurents musical. Gypsy Rose Lee began her career in Seattle in the 1920's on the vaudeville circuit, while the 5th Avenue opened in 1926 as a vaudeville house.
Gypsy loosely adapts the story of June Havoc and Gypsy Rose Lee, dragged by their mom through the vaudeville circuit in search of stardom. Songs include "Some People," "Little Lamb," "You'll Never Get Away From Me" and the monumental "Rose's Turn."
Recent Mama Roses have included Tyne Daly on Broadway, Alene Robertson in Chicago, and Betty Buckley in New Jersey. The role is most closely identified with Ethel Merman, though Angela Lansbury's performance in the Broadway revival received equally laudatory reviews.
Also in the cast are Jennifer Cody (June Havoc), Jason Gillman (Tulsa), Maya Sugarman (Baby Louise), Portia Reiners (Baby June), Anne Allgood, Carolyn Magoon, Angie Rolfs, Anthony Curry, Kelland Lindsey, Peter Silbert, Greg Allen, Garrett Brown, Louis Hobson, Matt Owen, Jesse Stoddard, Kari Lee Cartwright, Rebecca Castelli, Taryn Darr, Diana Hickman, Joel Rene and Allison Wedell Schumacher. Tickets are $58-$17. For reservations, call (206) 292-ARTS. The 5th Avenue Theatre is on the web at http://www.5thavenuetheatre.org.
— By Christine Ehren