Thursday, October 20, 2016


I’d imagine there is a lot of pressure associated with staging, what most consider to be, the GREATEST American musical of all time. One must dissect the elements that make it to be just that: the greatest. Well, here she is boys, Phoenix of Red Bank’s stellar production of Gypsy at the gorgeous Count Basie Theatre, shining in all it’s glory.

Bernadette Peters once compared the character of Momma Rose to “the female equivilant of King Leer.” Under the ginger care of director Tom Martini, Loretta Boyle lead the cast with the verve and doggedness every Momma must possess.

 The diadem of this production, however, was within her daughter Louise, played by Kathryn Pentek. Pentek explored a vulnerability who’s depths jarred the audience. We watched her transform from the overlooked tomboy cast aside by her mother, to a sexualized demigoddess casting her mother aside. Miss Pentek’s performance was nothing short of heartbreaking, thoroughly embodying the spirit of the piece.

Bob Sammond musically directs a show with tight knit harmonies very reminiscent of the vaudevillian days. Elise Klinger's choreography matches that same level of grace and historical accuracy. 

Stand out performances littered the show with every twist and turn. Chris Lorenc took on the role of Tulsa, leaving every single person in my row breathless, and for good reason. His mastery of the time period nuances, execution of the dance and  sheer chemistry with every single person on stage was certainly infectious and memorable. Mikayla Petrilla lit up the whole stage with infallible energy as Electra and led her fellow strippers to victory in a hilarious rendition of “You Gotta Get a Gimmick.”’

Its always a wonderful feeling when you see a classic just done right. Phoenix Red Bank undoubtedly provided that sense of nostalgia and a toetapping good time.

Review: Brittany Goodwin
Photos by: Rick Kowalski

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