Bittersweet story comes to life in Bayside
BY TAMMY SCILEPPI
A glove off here, a rolled down
stocking there… That subtle sexuality
and her flair for the art of the
striptease, transformed a young Seattle
teen into sultry stripper Gypsy
Rose Lee, who brought burlesque to
a whole new level back in the ‘30s.
Gypsy knew how to capture her audience’s
attention and imagination
with her come-hither look and sexy,
sophisticated style, while keeping ‘em
coming back for more.
Now, this bittersweet story of innocence
lost and young Louise Hovick’s
rise to stripper stardom as the statuesque
Queen of Burlesque — thanks
to her domineering, star-struck stage
mother, Rose — will be coming to life
in Bayside next month. So, don’t miss
local theater group Theatre By The
Bay’s entertaining revival of “GYPSY”
on its main stage.
Tickets can be purchased online at
theatrebythebayny.com or via phone
at (718) 428-6363.
“The music is absolutely beautiful.
This cast is like a dream — the talent
just jumps off that stage. Incredible!
And I’m super proud,” said Artistic
Director Cathy Chimenti, a Queens
resident who noted that directing was
her newfound love.
Get ready to take an exciting
vaudeville tour as Gypsy encounters
some colorful characters along the
way, and enjoy those classic songs,
like “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,”
and “Small World,” among others.
The cast of incredibly talented
performers drawn from the metro
New York area and Long Island is led
by Mary Ellin Kurtz as Rose, Jacklyn
Lisi (from Queens) as Louise, Kate
Brady, Samantha Kalinsky as Dainty
June (younger daughter June Havoc)
and Gary Tifeld (from Queens) as Herbie,
the salesman who falls for Rose.
Part of the creative team also hails
from the borough.
Gypsy’s career spanned more than
20 years and her steamy act was the
talk of every town that she visited—
from Seattle to Los Angeles. Driven
by greed, her own desire for fame, and
lacking a moral compass, Mama Rose
stopped at nothing to make sure both
her daughters got famous, launching
them on the vaudeville circuit as
As June moved on to become a
“real” actress, Louise went on to become
a popular stripper at age 17 or
18. Later, Gypsy Rose Lee wrote her
1957 memoir “Gypsy,” which formed
the basis for what many critics laud
as the greatest of all American musicals
– with its iconic score by Jule
Styne, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim,
and book by Arthur Laurents.
An authentic, compelling story, it
describes the hardships of showbiz
life and touches on human issues that
everyone can relate to on some level.
“When Laurents was asked to
write about the stripper, he realized
the real story is about the mother.
Mama Rose is the proverbial stage
mother, but she could be toxic,” Chimenti
said, adding, “Rose didn’t see
her daughter’s stripping as dirty;
she rationalized it. Pretty skanky,
The artistic director said her favorite
song in the show is “Rose’s
Turn.” And her favorite part? “The
end of Act 1, where June runs away
and leaves behind the toxic show biz
life she’s led. Now Mama realizes she
can make Louise a star,” Chimenti
said. “To me, this is such a huge turning
point … when Rose sings ‘Everything’s
Coming Up Roses.’ It’s almost
like you see her having a mental
breakdown right in front of you; she
just unravels. Even the music is sort
of like off a little bit at the end,” she
Gypsy Rose Lee died in April 1970,
of lung cancer. She was just 59. Today’s
like Dita Von Teese and others, have
referred to her as a pioneer and an inspiration.
“GYPSY” will be presented on Saturday
evenings on Nov. 9, 16, and 23 at
8 p.m., and Sunday afternoons on Nov.
Mary Ellin Kurtz stars as Rose.
Photo by Dina Antonucci
10, 17, and 24 at 3 p.m. All performances
will be held at Bay Terrace Garden
Jewish Center, located at 13-00 209th
St. in Bayside.
Advance tickets are available for
$25 for adults and $22 for kids ages 12
and under and for seniors ages 62 and
over. Tickets purchased at the door
are available for $2 more.
Tues. & Wed. $1895
1 1/4 lb. Lobster, Clams, and Mussels
Served with Corn on the Cob
and Baked Potato
with Purchase of 2 Cocktails,
2 Wines or 2 Beers
TIMESLEDGER,36 NOV. 1-7, 2019 QNS.COM