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‘Gypsy' fills Bismarck State College stage April 3-7

Posted on 3/27/2013

'Gypsy' logo
The antics of a show business mother determined to launch her young daughters into vaudeville leads to unexpected results in "Gypsy," the award-winning musical presented by Bismarck State College Theatre April 3-7. Shows are 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday in Sidney J. Lee Auditorium.

"Gypsy" combines the talents of BSC students, graduates and music faculty with cast members from the community and guest director Anne Jorgenson Green, Dakota Stage Ltd. director and board member. Green and Dan Rogers, "Gypsy" producer and BSC Theatre director, wanted to do something classic but without the stock musical ending.

"The show has traditional elements such as dance numbers and great music that has you leaving the theater humming," Green said, "but it's a little darker, edgier."

First staged on Broadway in 1959, "Gypsy" is based loosely on the 1957 memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee, a famous stripper during the height of burlesque. The story follows the sisters' rise through vaudeville, but with a focus on their mother, Rose, the ultimate stage mother. Mama Rose favors the talented June, grappling later with the less talented Louise (Gypsy Rose Lee), who, after a series of events, finds herself on the burlesque stage.

Green said the play has "marvelous relationships - characters struggling toward getting what they want, achieving self-realization, but often falling short or losing something in the process."

The musical's composing team of Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim created many songs that became popular standards such as "Everything's Coming up Roses," "All I Need Is the Girl," "Together (Wherever We Go)," "Let Me Entertain You," " Small World," "Some People," and "Rose's Turn."

Leading the 28-member cast are BSC graduates Erin Drevlow Weichel as Mama Rose (Bismarck) and Kelsey Fredericks (Mandan) as Louise/Gypsy Rose Lee, plus George Welder (Bismarck) as Herbie, Rose's agent and gentle suitor. Dakota Stein (Bismarck), also a BSC graduate, plays June, the older and more talented sister.

Seven current BSC students have roles. Brandon Wetch (Bismarck) plays Tulsa, a stage performer adored by both sisters. Others are Allison DeKrey, Cody Schirado, Zack Watson, Sedona Watson, (Bismarck), Shelby Johnson (Mandan), and Nathan Kurtti (Hazen). Back performing are BSC graduates Ashley Clooten (Bismarck) and Farren Gunderson (Mandan).

Portraying the sisters as children are Megan Hubley (Bismarck) as Baby Louise and Ellie Fogarty (Bismarck) as Baby June. Five other children are cast: Abigail Ahlgren, Eric Bender, Nathan Bender, Austin Fode (Bismarck), and Margaux Kautzmann (Mandan). Actors from Mandan High School are Elyssa Bickford, Madison Jansky and Wyatt Sabinash. Other community members are Kevin Tengesdal, Jennifer Bender (Bismarck), Jeffrey Jung, Moira McNichols, and Anne Green (Mandan).

Dean Bellin, assistant professor of theatre, has designed the set and technical production. Musical direction is by John Darling, associate professor and band director, and Andrew Miller, assistant professor and director of choral activities. Guest choreographer Hollis Mackintosh Heid of Northern Plains Dance created the dance sequences.

"Gypsy" is considered one of the crowning achievements of the mid-20th century's musical theater art form known as the "book musical." The original musical and its four revivals have received numerous Tony Award and Drama Desk Award nominations and wins.

General admission and reserved seat tickets are $10 for adults and $3 for students with BSC I.D. To reserve seats, call the box office at 224-5511.

About Bismarck State College
Bismarck State College, an innovative community college in Bismarck, N.D., offers high quality education, workforce training, and enrichment programs reaching local and global communities. For more information, visit

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