Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Dolphin Show puts it on, ‘Gypsy’ takes it off

The Dolphin Show’s performance of “Gypsy” wasn’t for another week, but you wouldn’t have known it from the number of set designers, ensemble musicians and cast members at Cahn Auditorium on Monday.

The crew set up lights and put the finishing touches on scene backdrops, the sound engineers fine-tuned the audio effects needed on cue for the play’s different scenes and the ensemble musicians practiced their musical pieces.

Downstairs in the greenroom, the cast relaxed before getting into character for their roles. Costume designers put the final stitches, literally, on the glittery bras and thongs needed for the show’s racy musical numbers.

This year’s performance of “Gypsy” — the story of a female sex symbol and her rise to stardom spurred by her domineering mother — is the third in the Dolphin Show’s 62-year history, making it the student-produced musical’s most-revived performance in its history.

“Gypsy” has many hard and famous acts to follow. The legendary musical is currently on Broadway starring Bernadette Peters. Talented actresses such as Angela Lansbury, Natalie Wood and Ethel Merman have all performed in the show’s leading roles.

When the audience comes to see “Gypsy” on Friday, however, they shouldn’t expect another faithful rendition of a beloved classic, but a new and revamped production, say the show’s production team.

“‘Gypsy’ is usually done with a minimalist set, but the director (Communication senior Sloan Grenz) had a really big vision and I felt as a producer that we needed to adhere to his vision … it makes it more visually stunning for the audience,” Artistic Director and Communication senior Danna Ginsberg said.

“I really wanted people to walk away from this show seeing this story about real people so people would treat it seriously rather than as a cheesy, old musical,” said director Grenz.

The 75 people on the musical’s production staff have been working on the set since late November. The play’s business staff has been busy as well, publicizing the play throughout the Chicago area and raising close to $15,000.

Casting decisions depart from the show’s original form as well.

The play features a multiracial cast, with Asian American Weinberg senior Melissa Menezes playing the famous role of Mama Rose.

“We did cast the show color-blind,” Grenz says, “but we didn’t cast it that way because we wanted to make a point, we cast it that way because we wanted to cast the best performers for the roles.”

Although Menezes said she is intimidated by playing a role that has usually been reserved by classically trained Broadway actresses, she said she believes she brings something very valuable to her performance.

“It’ll be different,” she said. “I think I bring something more youthful to the show, my ethnicity will definitely come out in a role that has usually been reserved for boisterous Caucasian women.”

‘Gypsy’

What: The 62nd annual Dolphin Show Where: Cahn Auditorium How much: General admission, $22; senior citizens and NU faculty and staff, $18; students, $10 When: Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m., and Saturday, January 31 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Medill sophomore Nekoro Gomes is a writer for PLAY. He can be reached at [email protected].

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Dolphin Show puts it on, ‘Gypsy’ takes it off