Benita Zahn and other local favorites join Broadway veterans for Capital Repertory Theatre’s Gypsy: A Musical Fable
ALBANY, N.Y.—Feb. 3, 2014—Capital Repertory Theatre announces that Benita Zahn, popular anchor and health reporter for WNYT, will join other local favorites and a brace of Broadway veterans in the company’s upcoming production of Gypsy: A Musical Fable, book by Arthur Laurents, music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Directed by theREP’s Producing Artistic Director Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill, choreographed by Freddy Ramirez and assisted by Susan Caputo, Gypsy opens March 18 and runs through April 13.
Described by critics as one of the most important titles in the American musical theatre canon, Gypsy chronicles the rags to riches story of burlesque queen, Gypsy Rose Lee. Mary Callanan, fresh from her role in the Broadway revival of Annie, will head the cast as Rose. She will be joined by Broadway mainstay Bob Walton in the role of Herbie, the candy salesman who helps Rose and her brood survive the waning days of Vaudeville.
In addition to her turn as Mrs. Pugh in Annie, Callanan counts national tours of Big, Mamma Mia!, Damn Yankees, The Sound Of Music and Cinderella among her credits—along with a list of regional theatre roles that read like the American songbook. A favorite in her hometown of Boston, Callanan brings an established fan base for her recordings and cabaret appearances to the role of Rose, which has defined the meaning of “stage mother” for generations.
Walton, Callanan’s accomplished co-star, was last seen on Broadway in The Drowsy Chaperone, following appearances in 42nd Street, The Ziegfeld Follies Of 1936, Showboat, City Of Angels and Once Upon A Mattress with Sarah Jessica Parker. His wide-ranging career encompasses experience as an actor, director and musical director, working with greats like Mickey Rooney and Ginger Rogers.
Other New York pros include Kelsey Crouch as Louise (who transforms into the magnificent “First Lady of Burlesque,” Gypsy Rose Lee), LoriAnn Frieda as Tessie Tura, Hillary Parker as Mazeppa, Matt Gibson as Tulsa, John T. Wolfe as Yonkers and Connor Russell as Angie.
Zahn, who has trod the boards at many local theatres, takes on her Capital Repertory Theatre debut in the role of Electra, the sparkling stripper who helps teach Louise her trade. Ramirez, a Troy resident and Broadway veteran who toured the country in West Side Story, will portray L.A. Other top area actors, several taking their first bows at theREP, also decorate the cast.
Amelia Rose Allen stars as Baby Louise with Alexis Papaleo as her little sister, Baby June. Taking on the task of teenage Louise is Cara O’Brien, an Albany resident and graduate of NYU, last seen on the theREP’s stage in James Joyce’s The Dead. Emily Louise Franklin makes her downtown debut as the tap-dancing Dainty June. She was last seen as the grown up Princess Fiona in Park Playhouse’s critically-acclaimed Shrek. Franklin’s brother George, who starred in Broadway’s A Christmas Story, also appears. And local favorites Tony Pallone and Joe Phillips will portray a variety of male characters in the play.
Other members of the 22 actor ensemble include Katherine Delaney Buddenhagen, Heather-Liz Copps, Sophie Elise Meisner, Morgan Przekurat, Whitney Wilson and Sara Wolf.
Preview performances for Gypsy: A Musical Fable take place March 14-16. Opening night is Tuesday, March 18. Regular performances continue through Sunday, April 13. Performance times: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; and 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday—with matinees 3 p.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday; and 2 p.m. Wednesday, March 26. Capital Repertory Theatre, 111 N. Pearl Street, Albany, N.Y. Tickets range from $20 to $65. For tickets and information, call TICKETS BY PROCTORS, (518) 445-SHOW (7469) or visit capitalrep.org.
Gypsy: A Musical Fable is sponsored by M&T Bank; with sub-sponsors Greenberg Traurig LLP.