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The musical Gypsy lights up the Peoria Players stage this February.  The show, with music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and a book by Arthur Laurents, is loosely based on the 1957 memoirs of striptease artist Gypsy Rose Lee, and focuses on her mother, Rose, whose name has become synonymous with “the ultimate show business mother.” It follows the dreams and efforts of Rose to raise two daughters to perform onstage and casts an affectionate eye on the hardships of show business life.

A veteran director at Peoria Players, Chip Joyce is at the helm of this production. “I feel grateful to direct Gypsy for Peoria Players. It is considered a masterpiece of musical theatre, and I’m thrilled to be trusted with it.”

Chip’s directorial catalogue includes a variance of shows, from newer and edgier pieces to well-known classics, including Rock of Ages, Pippin, Cabaret, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, last season’s Sweet Charity, and our 100th season finale, A Chorus Line.  “When approaching this show, I thought about how it is an older title about an even older time period. We think differently about vaudeville and the era now vs how they did when Gypsy premiered in 1959. There’s a little more mystery to it these days, because nobody living remembers this time in entertainment now.”

The cast features 37 actors, including Sassy, a rescued 5 year old Chorkie in the role of Madame Rose’s dog Chowsie.

The show is anchored by Alison Meuth in the iconic role of Madame Rose, and also features Rachel Feather as her daughter Gypsy, who would go on to become world famous stripper Gypsy Rose Lee. Her younger counterpart is played by Isla Zurek. Troy Hamilton plays their long suffering agent Herbie, Rachel Kocher and Natalie Krumholz share the role of Rose’s other daughter June. Rachel Mitchell, Celeste Matheson and Ingrid Peelle play the trio of comical strippers who teach Gypsy the importance of having a “gimmick” in your act.

And who could forget the popular song standards made famous by this musical —
“Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” “Together (Wherever We Go),” “Small World,” “Let Me Entertain You” and “All I Need Is the Girl,” to name a few. Laura Weaver Hughes accompanies Chip on several of his productions as his music director. She’s back to lead a 12-piece live orchestra throughout this brilliant score.

Performances for Gypsy include February 3, 4, 9, 10 and 11 at 7:30 pm, and February 5 and 12 at 2:00 pm. For tickets, visit or call the box office at 309-688-4473.

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