A dream role has come and gone, and the experience is one that will stay with me for the rest of my life. In my opinion, Gypsy is one of the best musicals of all time. The score, the book, the characters... it is on point throughout the entire show. And being able to bring this show, and especially the role of Mama Rose, to life, is something that meant so much to me, in more ways than one.
My stepmother Joanne joined our family when I was 12 years old, right when I was starting to realize how much I loved musical theatre and wanted to do it for life. In high school, as I was doing shows, taking voice lessons, and starting to come into my own as a performer, Joanne would say to me, "Emily, have you ever seen Gypsy? I think you would make an excellent Mama Rose someday." Every year she would ask me, "What's the musical this year? Are they doing Gypsy yet? You need to play Mama Rose." This question continued to come up every year, lol, throughout college, and even upon graduation, the constant quest for where a production of Gypsy was happening so I could belt out Everything's Coming Up Roses. I fell in love with the show and the music, saw the Patti Lupone revival, and listened to the soundtrack endlessly. Even though I was on the young side, my height and my look has always been on my side so that I've been cast older... usually playing women in their 40's and 50's. And Joanne knew that this was a role I was born to play, and couldn't wait for the day to see me in it.
Sadly, Joanne passed away in October of 2012. I miss her terribly. She was truly my biggest fan, believing I could play any and every role and would travel anywhere to see them. When Gypsy was announced for this season, I hoped that this would finally be a chance to play my dream role, not only for myself, but for Joanne. I was ecstatic when I got the phone call from our director that I got the role, and couldn't wait to work on this script. Each rehearsal was an adventure, discovering who this woman was to me, creating amazing moments with my cast, and singing one of the best Broadway scores (with a music director that appreciated this music as much as me!). As hard as the last few years have been for me without Joanne, doing this show was a way of having her back for a little bit... a dream come true for both me and her.
So here I am, at the end of another show, and grateful for the opportunity and fulfillment it has given me like no other. A huge thank you to everyone who came out to see the show, and a huge thank you to the people involved in the show, from my amazing cast to Craig, Michael, Tanya and Adam. I couldn't have done it without you, and am honored that I got to be your Mama Rose.