FLOYDS KNOBS – For local students, a high school theatrical production provided the opportunity to portray characters in depth and stage a Broadway ‘Golden Age’ classic.
Floyd Central Theater Arts’ production of “Gypsy” opens this Friday. The 1959 musical tells the story of Rose, a stage mom, who pushes her two daughters, Louise and June, to star status.
Robbie Steiner, theater director at Floyd Central High School, said “Gypsy” is an amazing play for students to study and perform.
“Not only does it give the opportunity to study a musical from that time, and it’s such an influential time, but it teaches, I think, about how we understand musicals from then on. “, did he declare.
The story is loosely based on the memoir of Gypsy Rose Lee, a famous burlesque artist. Steiner said he believes “Gypsy” is more relevant than ever to the pressures teens face to “commit their own dignity in the name of approval and popularity.”
“Today almost all young people feel this pressure because of the psychological implications of social media and what they have done, and we live in a world where children are making truly extreme, self-defeating choices and exposing on their media. social and in their digital interactions with their peers, ”he said.
The show delves into “the deep psyche of the characters,” Steiner said, and it focuses on a complicated mother-daughter relationship.
“He’s got these very complex characters, and he has an ending that isn’t necessarily a nice, neat package that ends,” he said. “It doesn’t end with a kind of ‘happiness forever’, which I think is very important, and because of that, it allows our students to study both a very important time, but also the characters. themselves, which is based on real people and their journey of putting themselves in these characters’ shoes and understanding what motivated them – what drove them to the extremes these characters were at.
The show is considered “PG-13”, but Steiner notes that the more mature moments of the show are staged with respect and consideration for the age of the actors.
“I think it has been a very valuable experience for our students both in terms of acting, but also in terms of life lessons,” he said. “I think it’s important that we don’t shy away from shows that have bolder themes.”
“Gypsy” has iconic music with songs from the heart of the American songbook, he said. Unlike many musicals of its day, “Gypsy” didn’t feature a lot of ensemble vocals.
“It’s based on a few small group production numbers, but mostly you have solos, duets, and trios, which really puts the emphasis on the characters and allows the storytelling to focus on the particular experience of the guys. main characters, ”Steiner mentioned.
Sophomore Mary Ficker plays Louise, Rose’s eldest daughter, and she is the cast’s dance captain. This is her first lead role and she took the opportunity to explore the mother-daughter relationship.
“[Louise] is mostly some kind of forgotten child in the series, with June being the main star of [Rose’s] life, and it wasn’t until Act II that Rose really started to focus on Louise, so the mother-daughter transformation throughout the show is probably my favorite, ”she said. declared.
She particularly enjoys the set of dance numbers centered around the music number “Let Me Entertain You”, which comes up repeatedly throughout the show.
“It’s really fun and cool to take the choreography every time and play with it in a different way,” she said.
Floyd Central Theater Arts, along with New Albany High School Theater Arts, were among the high schools selected to perform on the main stage at the International Theater Festival this summer in Bloomington. He will present “Guys and Dolls”, which he had already directed in the fall.
Steiner said that directing “Gypsy” was one of the best experiences he has had as a band since working at Floyd Central.
“I think the group has been extremely focused, extremely mature and really, really a lot of fun,” he said. “The band we’re currently working with on this show is just one of the nicest bands to work with. They bring their A-game, they are ready to work and they also have a great sense of humor. It’s really just a positive experience all around.