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74th Annual Dolphin Show ‘Gypsy’ Reveals Burlesque Star’s Life

Northwestern University student production celebrates diverse talents of undergraduates

  • Musical inspired by stripper Gypsy Rose Lee’s memoir
  • “Gypsy” explores the gritty world of vaudeville and burlesque
  • Tickets are $10 to $35, but Jan. 24 matinee will be a “Pay What you Can” performance

EVANSTON, Ill. --- “Gypsy” -- a musical adaptation of mid-20 th-century American burlesque entertainer Gypsy Rose Lee’s colorful life, on and off the stage -- will be performed from Jan. 22 through Jan. 30 on Northwestern University’s Evanston campus.

Lee (1911-1970) not only became famous for her striptease act as the star of the long-running 1940’s musical revue “Star and Garter,” she went on to become an actress, playwright and author, who penned her autobiography in 1957. “Gypsy” is loosely based on her memoir.

The Broadway show is this year’s 74th Annual Dolphin Show, one of the largest student-produced musicals in the country. 

The winter 2016 production marks the fourth time that “Gypsy” has been presented on the Northwestern stage, thus making it the most produced musical in Dolphin Show history.

The 2016 Dolphin Show is directed by School of Communication senior Aaron Simon Gross. This year’s production is produced by School of Communication seniors Brandon Nadig and Alexandra Wolfe, with support from a cast and team of more than 150 Northwestern University students.

“Gypsy” will be performed at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 22; 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 23; 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 24; 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 29 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 30, at Cahn Auditorium, a 1,000-seat venue located at 600 Emerson St., on the University’s Evanston campus.

Featuring music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by Arthur Laurents, “Gypsy” debuted on Broadway in May 1959 and starred Ethel Merman as Mama Rose, the twice-divorced domineering “stage mother” with two young daughters to support. The show was revived in London in 1973 and in numerous productions around the world. In 1962, it was made into a film.

“Gypsy” follows the story of Louise Hovick, who is used by her mother Rose as a means into the competitive and dazzling world of vaudeville, always playing second fiddle to her more talented sister June. When a dream validates Rose’s desire to escape her mundane small-town life, daughters Louise and June are taken on the road across America in search of employment in a series of vaudeville houses. After June runs away, her shy sister Louise eventually finds work as a stripper and transforms herself into the glamorous burlesque queen Gypsy Rose Lee.

Dolphin’s past student productions have featured such notable Northwestern alumni as David Schwimmer (“Friends”), Brian d’Arcy James (“Shrek” on Broadway and the film “Spotlight”), former Miss America Kate Shindle and many others.

Dolphin Show ticket prices range from $10 to $35. Discounts are available for students and groups of 10 and more. The Jan. 23 evening performance is “Alumnite” and the Jan. 24 matinee will be a “Pay What you Can” performance. Tickets are available online

Tickets also will available at the Cahn Auditorium box office prior to each performance, subject to availability.

Information on Dolphin Show history is available online.

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