Mon. Jan 17th, 2022

On Wednesday, Feb. 21, University Theatre’s presentation of “Gypsy” brought in the grand opening of the SOMPAC, the newest addition to West Chester University’s performing arts theatre.The scenic walk down the well-lit meandering pathway set the mood to a pleasant night at the theatre. After a brisk walk to the beautiful crystal glass SOMPAC, tickets are retrieved at will call.

An informative picturesque display was placed in the lobby detailing the history and the other ways in which the set was designed. Accompanying the display was a magic act; the table was set up for card and coin tricks.

The director majestically swung open the doors to the theatre at approximately 7:35 p.m. Ushers met guest with programs as they entered and also helped them to their seats. The ambiance of the auditorium was quite splendid. The theatre was dim with soft music playing while guests ushered in to be seated. Burgundy curtains were drawn with special lights cast against them creating a center piece to look at in anticipation of the production.

The play itself centered on three main characters. The mother, Rose, was played by Zoi Gianneas. The older, but less appreciated daughter Louise, was played by Megan Pisors. Last but not least, the adored star of the family, June, was played by Jamie Soltis. (Baby June and baby Louise were performed by Annie Rodden and Madeline Eissler). The mother lived through her daughter, June, the child star. Rose was exuberant and possessed self-assured confidence in her abilities in making her daughter a star.

Louise, the less talented one of the daughters, hid under props that made up her sister’s act. For instance, the front of the fashionable cow outfit was adorned by Louis. On her birthday, the prospect of a future show for June over shadowed Louis’ special day. The scene ended in a sweet, heartrending solo; the eloquentness of the song was centered on stuffed animals who happened to be the only ones there for her.

“Gypsy” is a very responsive production. It generated audience interaction with the actors that captured their attention. June playfully talked to the audience during her auditions. For Roses’ first appearance, she came out from within the audience yelling at the top of her lungs all the way to the stage.

In the end, these words can do no justice to the breathtaking rendition of “Gypsy.” This musical draws one in and enraptures fully. The actors, costumes and music carry the play and it carries the audience. “Gypsy” has provided the Grand Opening of West Chester’s SOMPAC facility and in doing so has set the bar and tone of future performance. Gypsy was directed by Bob E. Bytnar, musically directed by Vincent Craig and choreographed by Elizabeth Staruch.

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