In June 2003, the Arkansas Rep went back to the dying days of vaudeville when it presented Gypsy. Written by Arthur Laurents, Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim, this musical fable looks at the end of vaudeville and the rise of Gypsy Rose Lee. It was directed by Rep founder Cliff Fannin Baker.
Baker said he had long wanted to do the show, but credited Bob Hupp (his successor as the Rep’s Producing Artistic Director) with figuring out a way to make it happen.
Mary Robin Roth took on the role of Mama Rose. She had previously played Miss Hannigan in Annie at the Rep. Broadway vets Trista Moldovan and Joyce Chittick played Rose’s daughters Louise and June. In real life those grew up to be Gypsy Rose Lee and June Havoc. Others in the cast of approximately 30 included John Kudan, Nicholas Dromard, and Steve Wilkerson.
The creative team included Mike Nichols (scenery), Margaret A. McKowen (costumes), David Neville (lighting) and M. Jason Pruzin (sound). Ron Hutchins choreographed, and Eric Alsford was the musical director.
Even before opening night, the production was extended a week and ended on July 6 instead of June 29.