GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - It's a story of the ultimate stage mother. The musical classic "Gypsy" is playing at Gulfport Little Theatre.
"Gypsy" has been called one of the greatest American musicals by a number of critics and writers, and at the center of the story is Mama Rose. The role has been played by stars like Ethel Merman, Patti Lupone and Bernadette Peters. In Gulfport Little Theatre's production, Carolyn Martin takes on the challenging character of Mama Rose. It is a part she has dreamed of playing for years.
"She's one of those characters you love to hate. She's strong willed and independent, which was difficult at that time," said Martin.
The story is set in the 1920s and 1930s, as Rose and her family are clinging to the last days of vaudeville. Rose's goal is to make sure her daughters become famous.
"She was the original diva stage mom and lived life vicariously through her kids, to a degree like I have never seen before," said Martin.
Rose's love interest in the show is also her manager. Herbie is played by Jim Rux.
"Herbie is an optimist, dreamer, rescuer, and he sees the good in Rose," said Rux.
"Gypsy" is based on the 1957 memoirs written by Gypsy Rose Lee, one of Rose's daughters who became a well known burlesque strip tease artist. Mollye Ladner plays Gypsy Rose Lee; the part made famous in the film by Natalie Wood.
Rux says there are so many reasons this show continues to entertain audiences through the decades.
"There's a little something in this show for everyone. It has a lot of heart," said Rux.
The musical runs April 4 through April 6, and April 18 through April 20 at Gulfport Little Theatre.