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Chicago Kids Spotlight: June '07

Benanti, Fraser, Opel, Yazbeck, et al. to Co-Star in Gypsy

By New York City
Laura Benanti
(© Joseph Marzullo/Retna)
Laura Benanti
(© Joseph Marzullo/Retna)
Laura Benanti will play the role of Gypsy/Louise opposite Patti LuPone and Boyd Gaines in the upcoming City Center Encores! Summer Stars production of the Jule Styne-Stephen Sondheim-Arthur Laurents musical Gypsy, July 9-29. The show, to open officially on July 14, will be directed by Laurents, who wrote the book of the musical, based on the memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee. The original Jerome Robbins' choreography will be reproduced by Bonnie Walker.

The show's cast will also feature Leigh Ann Larkin (Dainty June), Tony Yazbeck (Tulsa), Alison Fraser (Tessie), Nancy Opel (Mazeppa/Miss Cratchit), Marilyn Caskey (Electra), Sami Gayle (Baby June), Emma Rowley (Baby Louise), Jim Brachitta (Uncle Jocko/Pastey), Bill Bateman (George/Mr. Goldstone/Bougeron Cochon), Bill Raymond (Pop/Cigar), and Brian Reddy (Weber/Phil).

The creative team will include Patrick Vaccariello (music direction), James Youmans (sets), Martin Pakledinaz (costumes), and Dan Moses Schreier (lighting).

Benanti's many Broadway credits include Swing! and Into the Woods, both of which earned her Tony Award nominations, The Sound of Music, Nine, and The Wedding Singer.

LuPone was praised for her previous performance as Mama Rose in a concert production of Gypsy last year at the Ravinia Festival. Most recently seen on Broadway in Sweeney Todd, she won a Tony Award for her performance in the title role of Evita. Her other Broadway credits include Master Class, Anything Goes, Oliver!, Working, and The Old Neighborhood.

Gaines, who will play Herbie, received the Drama Desk Award as Best Featured Actor in a Play for Journey's End and is nominated for the Tony Award as Best Actor in a Play for that performance. He is a three-time Tony winner for Contact, She Loves Me, and The Sisters Rosensweig. Gaines and LuPone previously worked together while attending Juilliard and appeared in a benefit performance of Cole Porter's Anything Goes in which LuPone played Reno Sweeney and Gaines played Lord Evelyn.


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