WAKEFIELD – Everything’s coming up roses at The Contemporary Theater Company this spring where former Charlestown resident Eden Casteel is playing the role of Mama Rose in the classic musical "Gypsy," on stage through May 11.
"Mama Rose is one of the great characters in musical theater — the ultimate stage mother," said Casteel in a prepared statement. "Learning more about her makes me grateful for my own mother, who encouraged my performing as a child, but never smothered me.”
"Casteel will be accompanying some of the songs in the show on the piano herself, adding a new dimension to the character of Rose as she pushes her children harder and harder," added Maggie Cady, the theater's general manager.
With music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and book by Arthur Laurents, "Gypsy" is considered one of the great American musicals, Cady said.
Gypsy follows a mother, Rose, and her two daughters, Louise and June, as they perform on the vaudeville circuit. As the children grow and vaudeville theaters are shutting down, Rose pushes the girls harder and harder. When they reach the breaking point, they all find new, and very different, paths.
Often called the perfect musical, "Gypsy" has an unforgettable score and a story for the ages, according to Cady.
"As vaudeville is dying, Mama Rose's ambition pushes her and her daughters June and Louise on the road to make it big," she said. "Soon their relationships and lives start to unravel, revealing their true desires."
"Eden is an incredible artist; I think she would be equally at home starring, directing, music directing, or accompanying a show like this," said the show's director, Chris Simpson. "As a result, we have enormous freedom to play with the possibilities of this show. She can slide over and accompany songs from the piano when Rose wants more control of the people around her.”
The cast also includes a number of Contemporary's frequent collaborators including Maggie Papa as Louise and Ari Kassabian as June alongside Susan Chakmakian, Alexcia Christy, Alijah Dickinson, Omar Laguerre-Lewis, Jess Ring, Charlie Santos, Carter Santos, Robert Solomon, Valerie Tarantino, and local burlesque performer Gilted Lilly.
"Simpson is very excited about the team he has assembled and is particularly excited to work with Casteel again who played Mrs. Lovett in the theater’s production of Sweeney Todd," said Cady.
“She truly is a star,” added Simpson.
Tickets for performances and more information about the company are available online at www.contemporarytheatercompany.com or by calling 401-218-0282. Performances are April 26-27, May 2-4 and May 9-11 at 7 p.m. and May 5 at 2 p.m.
— Nancy Burns-Fusaro