Here's the thing, folks: There are some shows which high schools should just not be allowed to do. Off the top of my head, I can think of:
Sunday in the Park With George
Sweeney Todd (although it was an absolutely BRILLIANT high school production that introduced me to this one)
But there's one show that tops all, one sacred book and impeccable score that should never never never be slaughtered by teenagers attempting to screech like Idina Menzel: GYPSY. Let me tell you something: I am not the biggest Gypsy fan. I don't think it's "the greatest musical ever." I've already told you I bestow that honor on Sweeney Todd. But I'm not that ignorant. I am fully cognizant of the fact that Gypsy is a great show, even though it's not perfect. We all know that I didn't really enjoy LuPone Gypsy. After yesterday, LuPone Gypsy is lookin' awful good. Yes, I did indeed pay seven dollars to watch one of the greatest musicals in history get slandered by a shrieky Rose, a wooden Herbie, and a Louise that could not have been trying harder to be Laura Benanti. Let's see if I can list my grievances with this production:
1. There is no Mrs. Weber. Sorry, but it's true.
2. The dog's name is "Chowsie" not "Chowskie," thanks.
3. It's Rose, not Rosa.
4. By all means, let's only use the left side of the stage!
5. Screaming at Rose during his final scene does not make up for the fact that Herbie can't act.
I knew right away, once I looked in the playbill and saw that top billing was given to the "Baloon Girl," that this one was gonna be a doozy. I was actually moderately enjoying myself until one moment when the whole thing just came crashing down. Right before the scene before You'll Never Get Away From Me (which is, for the record, under appreciated), six girls dressed as Chinese waitresses scurried out onto the stage. I had a sneaking suspicion of what was going on, but I decided to stay seated and watch what was unfolding before me. And guess what. They started dancing. Now, clearly this was an excuse for the parents in the audience to scream and shout and wave at their daughters on stage. You see them every day, people. Wait until after the freaking show. I could hardly believe what I was seeing. It was utterly ridiculous. If they had pulled this in the Broadway revival, I probably would have walked out. There is no spontaneous dancing in Gypsy. I don't care if one of the dancers was related to the director. There is no spontaneous dancing in Gypsy. Ethel Merman was rolling in her grave. But the real kicker (awful pun intended) came toward the end of the dance. The dancers all lined up and linked arms. Lenora can vouch for the fact that I started gasping, "NO! PLEASE, GOD, NO!" But...they did it. A waitresses' kickline. I can't wait for the day when this school does Sweeney. I'm really lookin' forward to the Throatslitter's Tango, and Mrs. Lovett's Mutilation Mambo.
That's all I have to say about that. God save us from the high schoolers who think acting means talking with your hands and belting as high as you possibly can.