The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

The Danville News

July 10, 2014

Actors age 7 to 70 take stage Friday for 'Gypsy'

— DANVILLE — A cast of 42, ranging from 7 to 70, has put together the musical “Gypsy” in six weeks.

“The cast is so good they could do it on a blank stage and it still would be fun,” said director Jennifer Wakeman.

“They are just that talented as a group and we’re having fun,” she said of rehearsals that began the first week of June.

This classic American show will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday in the Danville Middle School. Tickets are $15 with doors opening 30 minutes before shows.

“We have a great group of folks from all over the place,” Wakeman said of the RiverStage Community Theatre’s first production in Danville.

The cast comes from an area including Danville, Milton, Lewisburg, Montgomery and Selinsgrove with one of the leads coming from Laporte.  

“Many have never done anything with us and to me that’s the best thing in the world,” said Wakeman who hopes they will audition for future shows. This is the third RiverStage production she has directed.

“Gypsy,” by Arthur Laurents, is the true story of Mama Rose’s two daughters trying to break into the big time in 1920s vaudeville. The show is based on the 1957 memoirs of famous burlesque entertainer Gypsy Rose Lee’s dreams to raise her two young daughters to perform onstage.

Seven-year-old Jaden Crowley, of Danville, portrays one of the newsboys. “This is my third show,” he said of performances at his Milton church. “I think it’s the greatest thing to be on stage,” said Jaden who sings and dances in “Gypsy.” “I don’t have stage fright because I’ve done it a couple of times,” he said.

Max Gustafson, 13, of Lewisburg, described himself as the tallest of the newsboys. He appeared in “All My Sons” as Bert in the last RiverStage production.

“I want to be an actor,” said Max who will be a high school freshman.

Gabrielle Markunas, 12, of Northumberland, appears as Baby June doing flips,   singing and dancing on stage. She was in Shikellamy High School productions “Annie” and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”

The rising seventh-grader especially likes the dancing in Gypsy.

Among the newcomers is Elaine Borgese, of Danville. “It’s fun. I’ve never done anything like this before,” she said of her character Miss Cratchitt whom she described as not letting anyone see the boss.

Wakeman said RiverStage Community Theatre has already booked the Danville Middle School for a show next summer. RiverStage Community Theatre is the former nonprofit Milton Area Community Theatre, founded in 2003.

“The Danville School District has been so fabulous and couldn’t be more agreeable. Charlie Smargiassi, who has been a music educator, understands what is necessary to put on a musical,” Wakeman said of Danville’s middle school principal.

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