Meet ‘Gypsy’ and family

Published 9:40 am Thursday, July 14, 2011

Katherine Sime, who plays Baby Louise in “Gypsy,” prepares her makeup Tuesday night before a dress rehearsal. The show starts tonight at the Marion Ross Performing Arts Center. -- Kelli Lageson/Albert Lea Tribune

Not only is Albert Lea Community Theatre’s production of the musical “Gypsy” a family-friendly show, it stars an entire family.

The Pederson family, made up of parents Neal and Shelley, son Marshall, daughter Carma, and two dogs Lola and Porky, will all perform in the show that starts tonight at the Marion Ross Performing Arts Center.

Props stand at the ready labeled for which act they’ll be used for in the basement of the Marion Ross Performing Arts Center. -- Kelli Lageson/Albert Lea Tribune

Neal said the family decided to be involved in the musical on a whim, and that it has been difficult, but fun having the whole family involved in the production.

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“We all like to go to plays and to actually be in one is interesting,” Neal said.

Shelley said she has enjoyed watching the play come together and watching the children in the show act. Director Steve Kinney said he thinks it’s one of the best musicals ever written. The show is based on a true story set in the 1920s.

“It’s got so many wonderful things,” Kinney said.

He said his favorite song in the show keeps changing, but one song people will recognize is “Everything’s Coming Up Roses.” The story follows Rose, a stereotypical stage mother, and her two daughters at various ages. Angela Wagner Donlon plays Rose and said she’s enjoyed playing a character who has many emotions.

“I have to play every emotion imaginable — it’s challenging,” Wagner Donlon said. “She’s the ultimate stage mom.”

Wagner Donlon also enjoys acting with all ages from elementary-age kids to seniors. She’s also performed with Owatonna’s local theater and said it was fun to meet new actors and see how another theater runs.

“I’m so grateful to work with Steve Kinney — he’s taught me so much,” Wagner Donlon said.

Director Steve Kinney talks to the cast Tuesday night before a dress rehearsal of “Gypsy” presented by Albert Lea Community Theatre. -- Kelli Lageson/Albert Lea Tribune

Kinney said it’s always a treat to work with local actors, and he continues to be surprised by the talent of people in the community. He’s directed more than 100 productions, but this will be his first time directing “Gypsy.”

The show opens tonight at 7:30 p.m. and continues Friday and Saturday. On Sunday there’s a matinee at 2 p.m. and the show continues at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday of next week. Tickets are $17 for adults and $14 for students and can be purchased at the box office, which can be reached at 507-377-4371.

Tickets, please
What: “Gypsy,” a musical
When: 7 p.m. July 14, 15, 16, 20, 21, 22, 23; 2 p.m. July 17
Where: Marion Ross Performing Arts Center in Albert Lea
Cost: $17 for adults; $14 for students