I dedicate this production to my mother Linda Short. Like so many strong and amazing women - including Mama Rose - she was a single mom raising two kids, my younger brother and me. When I think of Rose, it’s not the image of her as the epitome of a manic stage mother who won’t let anything – including her daughters’ happiness – get in the way of her dream of fame and fortune that I think of. I’ve always identified with Gypsy as simply the story of an extraordinary single mom doing whatever she thinks is necessary for her and her kids to survive. Just like my mom. And just like the extraordinary performer playing Rose in this production, Monica Olejko, the first and only person I wanted to play the part from the very beginning. It’s only now that I’m a parent of two daughters myself, that I can truly appreciate the fact that the sheer fear these incredible women - and so many others like them - must have felt while wondering where the next meal was going to come from, was tempered only by the pride, determination and strength to overcome it. It’s easy to judge an iconic character like Rose as being selfish and overbearing. Indeed, it may be a vast understatement to say the real-life mother of Gypsy Rose Lee - Rose Thompson Hovick - was, at times colorful, unusual and disturbing. But no one can doubt the love she had for her kids and the lengths she would go to to protect them. And no one who knows my family can doubt my mom has always been the same way. And when she sees this production I hope she knows that there is no doubt that the feeling is mutual.
This production wouldn’t be possible without the incredible work of our creative team – Music Director Georgiann Bodle, Choreographer Katie Kocik, Costumer David Glowe, Stage Manager Annmarie Steffes, Scenic Artist Michael Lenzo, Props Managers Mary Ann Hippsley and Judy Pekarik and the entire BTOTS team, Scott McPherson, Don Albainy, Hadden Hippsley, Michelle Albainy, Kim Bush and Pam Ciccarello. Thank you.
I am in awe of the talent and dedication of this cast and crew. Love and thanks to you all. But most of all, love and thanks to my family Lisa (another incredible mom) and my girls Mikey and Bailey…and of course to Mom. I love you.