Saturday, August 22, 2015

reviews - GYPSY - Scottsdale Musical Theater Company

Sarah Cassidy, Terry Gadaire and Debra Qualtire
Photo: Zachary Youmans
highlights from local critics reviews - (click link at bottom of each review to read complete review)

Click here for more information on this production that runs through Sunday August 23rd.

"Widely regarded as one of the greatest musicals, Gypsy is receiving a fairly good production from Scottsdale Musical Theater Company. This backstage story of the mother of all stage mothers and the creation of infamous stripper Gypsy Rose Lee has leads who create realistic characters and strong direction. It is a solid production of this beloved musical....the main focus of Gypsy is on Lee's mother, Rose, and her desperate attempt to turn her two daughters (June and Louise) into stars. Set in the tacky worlds of the touring vaudeville circuit of the 1920s and the raunchier burlesque environs of the 30s, we equally admire, love, pity and also cringe at this determined, delusional stage mother who pokes, prods and pushes her daughters and will do anything to make her children famous, but deep down hungers for the limelight herself. It is also a cautionary tale of the desperate desire and drive for fame....Director David Hock has assembled a talented cast, led by Debra Qualtire as Rose and Sarah Cassidy as Gypsy Rose Lee. Qualtire delivers a fairly nuanced performance...While I wish she displayed a few more moments of true terrifying force and showed us more clearly how Rose ultimately turns into a broken down woman, and a few times on opening night she stumbled and paused a few times in her line delivery, it still results in a nuanced performance of this show biz trouper who won’t let anything, or anyone, get in her way. Qualtire also has a warm, strong voice, delivering lively versions of her songs, including a strong “Rose’s Turn” that is only missing a moment of ferocity and insanity to make it truly heartbreaking....Sarah Cassidy does a skillful job in portraying Louise’s transition from the shy, mousy and quiet “tom boy” in the background to the calculating, manipulative and bawdy woman, who learns to use sex, or sexual innuendo, to her advantage....Terry Gadaire is Herbie, Rose’s lover and the girl’s agent, and he is fantastic, instilling the character with a deep amount of warmth, even as he is continually manipulated by the woman he simply loves and just wants to marry...Gadaire...delivers a stirring, affecting performance....Hock keeps the show grounded in reality, only rarely dipping into caricature or camp. He also doesn’t skirt the emotional issues at the core, and ensures the dialogue scenes are as skillfully delivered as the many show stopping musical numbers. His actors have excellent chemistry with each other, and also deliver realistic characters, all of which is a testament to Hock’s directorial skills. However, he does rush the very end of “Rose's Turn,” with Louise coming on too quickly, so a key moment doesn’t quite resonate and the long transitions between scenes will hopefully be faster once the cast and crew get more performances under their belts. Hock also should reel in a couple of the ensemble members who are overacting.... Kevin Hayward’s music direction is assured and he also conducts the large orchestra with skilled playing throughout including an overture that is played with gusto..."  -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

"A cast of accomplished Valley stage veterans (Debra Qualtire and Terry Gadaire) and aspiring young actors delivered a valiant opening night performance of Gypsy at Tempe Center for the Arts. One hopes that, by their final performance on August 23rd, their hard work will be rewarded by major corrections in the production's technical aspects. There is too much talent and substance invested in staging a classic of this magnitude for director David Hock to abide one more minute of sloppy sound effects and delayed scene changes, which, in turn, may have prompted some of the cast's lapses in the timing or remembrance of their lines.  Scottsdale Musical Theater Company has a well-established record of putting on quality shows, so I'll consider the opening night jitters and stumbles an anomaly...Mr. Gadaire delivered his usual level of excellence as Herbie, Rose's erstwhile agent, waiting in the wings for Rose to let go of her dreams and settle down...The interactions between Rose and her daughters could stand some fine tuning and more work on character development. ...Rose needs more thorns, more metal, more demonstrable intensity and angst. ...There's a lot of potential here that perhaps additional prep time and focused direction could have fulfilled. In the meanwhile, it is what it is, and, as community theatre, will likely give its audiences in this very short run something to applaud." -  -Herbert Paine, Broadway World (click here to read the complete review)


  1. The second nights performance was marred by Debra Qualtire (Rose) forgetting her lines not once or twice but throughout the whole show. Frankly it was hard to watch. Terry Gadaire is indeed fantastic and Sarah Cassidy turned in a worthy performance as did many members of the ensemble. I hope for the sake of the rest of the cast Debra Qualtire rises to the occasion tonight.

  2. I agree with the previous comment in regards to the lead role of was painful to watch. However there were some small roles that were standouts.....Alex Crossland, who played Tulsa did a great tap number and the young lady (don't know her name) who played the Chinese waitress was exceptional......a small part but a giant performance!

  3. I feel like Caroline was a PHENOMENAL addition to the performance. Great job overall to everyone, but Caroline was a standout to me.