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Archikulture Digest

by Carl F Gauze

Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves – A Cabaret

Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves – A Cabaret
Musical Direction by Chris Leavy
Starring Laura Hodos, Kevin Kelly, Krista Leona Anderson
Winter Park Play House, Winter Park, Florida

When you comb through the personal files of the American Musical Theater, there are plenty of Tramps but not that many Thieves and Gypsies are down right as scarce as flu vaccination in Mexico. Tonight’s fluffy and tuneful collection of songs began with the eponymous Cher pop hit of 1971, and then wandered the highways and low ways of music sung in an informal manner that tried to get people to mill around and buy drinks. It’s a challenge, seating is tight and getting up mid number typically requires 3 to 6 people getting out of your way twice.

Adding some audience participation to the evening was the contractor building their new theatre next door. He gave some thoughts on the whole theatrical process, and took us on a tour of the unfinished building at intermission. I’ll give WPPH credit; they’ve got the chutzpah to expand when many other groups are on the edge of going dark. I put the blame squarely on their focused plan of providing a high quality musical experience with exceptional performers. Having picked a reasonably arbitrary program, this trio of WPPH regulars executed every song with panache. Kevin Kelly got the best numbers – “I’m A Gigolo”, “Serve Yourself”, and wonderfully dark romantic ballad about two lovers trying to kill each other. Yes, it’s Miss Plum in the Music Room with a bouquet of flowers. Of course, both Hodos and Anderson kept up their consistently engaging styling – a song from Gypsy was mandatory, and Hodo’s “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” was nearly as good as here sing along version of “Minnie the Moocher.” Anderson’s “Love For Sale” and opener “He’s a Tramp” gave here the sympathy vote for the evening.

“Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves” only ran one weekend, and it’s these short term projects that don’t rely on out of town script that allow the stable of WPPH players to show what they do best. That’s sing with Chris Leavy, banter with the audience, and try to convince us they sound better as we pile on the liquor. I’m just hoping the new theatre will have a bit more leg room so I can buy that extra glass of Cheap Red Wine. And if they could sell proper Martini’s, you might have to stand in line for a ticket…

For more information on Winter Park Playhouse, please visit http://www.winterparkplayhouse.org