Written by Sheri ArbitalJacoby Saturday, 22 March 2014 00:00
The extremely talented students at The Wheatley School will be performing the spectacular musical Gypsy on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, March 27–29, at 7:30 p.m., and at 2 p.m. on Saturday. Many gifted cast members from Mineola, East Williston and Albertson will belt out classics from the play.
Loosely based on the 1957 memoirs of the famous striptease artist Gypsy Rose Lee, Gypsy spotlights Lee’s mother, Rose, the ultimate stage mom.
The musical presents an affectionate look at the hardships of show-biz life while chronicling Rose’s dreams and struggles as she raises her two daughters to perform onstage.
Gypsy has been called the greatest American musical by numerous critics and writers, and contains many popular songs, including “Everything’s Coming up Roses,” “Together (Wherever We Go)” and “Let Me Entertain You.”
“Gypsy awakens, for all of us, the romanticized dream of a life in show business. We are fascinated, too, by the darker sides of the business—the hardships behind the curtain and the people who endure those harsh realities beyond the illusion,” explains Wheatley English teacher and the play’s director, Rick Leidenfrost-Wilson.
The actors feel extremely fortune to be working with the veteran director. Gypsy is Leidenfrost-Wilson’s first Wheatley production since Honk! five years ago, as he’s been extremely busy directing the off-Broadway play The Greatest Pirate Story Never Told!
“I’m learning so much from working with Mr. Leidenfrost-Wilson,” says Wheatley Theater Company (WTC) president Caitlin Calio of East Williston. “He has a way of explaining his direction that makes it really easy to understand. He has really been helping me, and the rest of the cast, understand our characters overall, and also how they would respond at specific points in the show.”
WTC vice president and Mineola resident Juliana Luber, who plays Rose’s daughter June, elaborates: “I’m beyond excited
to be a part of Gypsy. It has been such a great experience getting to work on such a classic, well-known show.”
The director is equally passionate about his experience. “I had a fantastic time directing these kids. It’s always wonderful watching kids soar and make new discoveries about what they can do,” said Leidenfrost-Wilson.
The cast is truly amazing,” continues Calio, who will be playing Rose’s daughter Louise. “There is so much talent and I am learning from everyone.”
The emotions and excitement are universal. “Playing Mama Rose is a real dream come true for me,” notes WTC secretary Chelsea Wolgel. “It is such a demanding, challenging role, and it’s an honor to be able to play this part for my last WTC show.”
To reserve seats, visit www.ewsdonline.org or call 516-333-1630, ext. 5230. Tickets cost $10, though senior citizen tickets are free, and can also be purchased at the door. The Wheatley School Auditorium is located at 11 Bacon Rd., Old Westbury.