As the song says, “you gotta get a gimmick, if you want to get ahead,” and the production of “Gypsy,” running through Oct. 9 at the Gallery Players in Park Slope, really needs a gimmick of its own.
The beloved 1959 musical, with a book by Arthur Laurents and music and lyrics from Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim, tells the story of Rose’s desperate effort to get her daughter Baby June into show business. When Rose’s initial attempt fails, she forces her less-charismatic child Baby Louise into the entertainment industry. Ultimately, Louise’s career blossoms when she falls into the burlesque scene.
The musical is larger-than-life, but the Gallery Players theater is small, and the creative team’s ambitious but unfitting decision to use Broadway-styled set designs and ornate costuming just makes the show seem overstuffed. The production’s orchestrations similarly try too hard — the show could easily have functioned with merely a pianist and drummer, and the additional karaoke track playing alongside the orchestra is only another ludicrous element in this tacky production.
Despite the design and music snafus, the production is redeemed by strong performances from Victoria Bundonis as Rose and Dave Konig as Herbie. Their chemistry is apparent throughout the show, especially during their tender and romantic scenes. Bundonis’s acting chops are remarkable, but her singing skills cannot soar to the same level, and the show’s powerhouse ballads, such as “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” and “Rose’s Turn” fall flat. Ironically enough, it is Elizabeth Nestlerode’s performance of the timid Baby Louise that stands out. Her transition from a pathetic young girl to a tantalizing seductress is remarkable.
This “Gypsy” may hit the notes, but it doesn’t dazzle, and for a three three-hour long production, you need more than that. You can keep moving along.
“Gypsy” at the Gallery Players [199 14th St. between Fourth and Fifth avenues in Park Slope, (718) 595–0597, www.galle