Tonight was the first night for the full 17-member pit orchestra to meet at Memorial for rehearsal, and wow! If you come see Gypsy for no other reason than to hear these musicians play the toe-tapping tunes by Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim, that’s reason enough.
The musical contains many songs that became popular standards, including "Everything's Coming up Roses,” "Together (Wherever We Go)," "Small World," "Some People," "Let Me Entertain You," "All I Need Is the Girl," and "Rose's Turn." It is frequently considered one of the crowning achievements of the mid-20th century's conventional musical theatre art form, often called the "book musical."
Our pit orchestra is directed by Megan Gabehart, who has served as music director for numerous PCT shows. It's filled with veteran performers who double — and triple and quadruple — up on instruments.
Recent Pittsburg High School graduate Jack Warring handles a full section of auxiliary percussion, from xylophone to timpani. Musicians in the reed section transition from alto sax to clarinet to flute to piccolo.
The orchestra also includes musicians who are coming in from a distance to perform: Levi Randolphe drives from Joplin. AJ Beu drives from Kansas City.
It includes a recently married couple: Chris and Amanda Goddard. And seven music teachers: Megan (Labette County), Andrea Dinkel (Galena), Kelsey DeVore (Jasper, Mo.), Amanda Goddard (Labette County), Daniel Warlop (Frontenac), Danica Gibson (Southeast), and Levi Randolphe (Joplin).
It includes two Pittsburg State students: Jacob Caffrey and Justin Crossman.
And it includes one of Megan’s former students at Pittsburg High, Sam Ortiz, now a music student at Pittsburg State.
Rounding it out are Lucas Warford, Oliver Smith, Matthew Schmitt, and Megan’s mother, Barbara York, a noted composer in her own right.
Gypsy has been referred to as the greatest American musical by numerous critics and writers, among them Ben Brantley ("what may be the greatest of all American musicals..."). Theater critic Clive Barnes wrote that"'Gypsy' is one of the best of musicals..." We can't help but think that's in large part because of the music.
Come hear it for yourself! “Gypsy" runs July 28-31; tickets are on sale now at www.memorialauditorium.org and at the box office at 503 N. Pine, 620-231-7827.
This blog is a spot for journalist Andra Stefanoni, a PCT board member who also has been cast in several productions, to allow audiences a peek behind the scenes.