Coming in January 2018: Our Black Box Production of Gypsy!

Wagner High School Theater is proud to present our second musical in our Performing Art Center’s Black Box Theater.  On January 11 to 14th, 2018, we will present the classic Broadway musical, Gypsy!

Tickets for the show go on sale on Monday, December 11th.  All tickets are $15.00 plus a small service/credit card fee.  Students can purchase tickets in the Falcon’s Nest with one ticket discounted to $12.00 and others at the regular price of $15.00.  Please note, there are just 160 seats in the Black Box Theater and tickets do sell quickly.  Be sure to purchase yours as soon as possible.

Performance times are:

  • Thursday, January 11th at 7:00pm
  • Friday, January 12th at 7:00pm
  • Saturday, January 13th at 7:00pm
  • Sunday, January 14th at 2:00pm

About the show:

Gypsy is a 1959 musical with music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and a book by Arthur Laurents. Gypsy is loosely based on the 1957 memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee, the famous striptease artist, and focuses on her mother, Rose, whose name has become synonymous with “the ultimate show business mother.” It follows the dreams and efforts of Rose to raise two daughters to perform onstage and casts an affectionate eye on the hardships of show business life. The character of Louise is based on Lee, and the character of June is based on Lee’s sister, the actress June Havoc.

Gypsy has been referred to as the greatest American musical by numerous critics and writers, among them Ben Brantley (“what may be the greatest of all American musicals…”)[1] and Frank Rich.[2]Rich wrote that “Gypsy is nothing if not Broadway’s own brassy, unlikely answer to King Lear.”[3] Theater critic Clive Barnes wrote that “Gypsy is one of the best of musicals…” and described Rose as “one of the few truly complex characters in the American musical.”[4]

A musical based on the memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee was a project of producer David Merrick and actress Ethel Merman. Merrick had read a chapter of Lee’s memoirs in Harper’s Magazine and approached Lee to obtain the rights. Jerome Robbins was interested, and wanted Leland Hayward as co-producer; Merman also wanted Hayward to produce her next show.[5] Merrick and Hayward approached Arthur Laurents to write the book. As he relates, Laurents initially was not interested until he saw that the story was one of parents living their children’s lives. Composers Irving Berlin and Cole Porter declined the project. Finally, Robbins asked Stephen Sondheim, who agreed to do it. Sondheim had worked with Robbins and Laurents on the musical West Side Story. However, Merman did not want an unknown composer, and wanted Jule Styne to write the music. Although Sondheim initially refused to write only the lyrics, he was persuaded by Oscar Hammerstein to accept the job.[6]

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