Gypsy - A Musical Fable: Presentation/Reading and Audition Notice


Reading/Presentation:   Sunday 8th March, 6.00 pm (Yardley Room, Hampton Hill Theatre)

Auditions:                         Sunday 15th March 2020:  11.00 am - Childrens auditions

                                                                                           2.00 pm - Adult auditions

                                                                                           (Coward Suite, Hampton Hill Theatrre)

Performance Dates:       Saturday 27th June – Friday 3rd July 2020 (Auditorium)

Gypsy – A Musical Fable
By Arthur Laurents (book), Jule Styne (music) & Stephen Sondheim (lyrics)

Gypsy is the story of a domineering mother (Rose) striving to get her children (June & Louise) into show business. Based on the memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee, it tells of their journey and presents characters along the way who are key to achieving that success, although if they’re not useful to Mama Rose she casts them aside. It seems like a simple story of an unrelenting stage-mom, but scratch at the surface and what we find is a woman riddled with unconscious defences and pain. We see this in all of Rose’s domineering behaviour and get a window in to how lonely that can be as well as the effect it has on all those around, but will the border-line narcissist recognise her vicarious behaviour? It’s not all heavy doom, gloom and unconscious survival mechanisms though, it is also about flourishing and through the life of Louise we see the glory of breaking free from pre-imposed life scripts and constraints when she becomes her true self as roles between mother and daughter reverse.

Littered with larger than life characters and some of the greatest female roles in musical theatre, there is plenty of opportunity for an actor to stretch their legs and vocal cords. This doesn’t mean we require great dancers who have perfectly trained singing voices though, in fact that would be wrong for the piece. What we will be looking for are actors who can sing and move; character is key. June and Tulsa however, do require a good level of dance and singing. There is a wide range of playing ages and flexibility so don’t let perceived age be a barrier to auditioning - have a read through the character breakdowns and come along to the presentation. We will also need some younger children for the early scene at the beginning but we will cast these after initial auditions.

Rehearsals will be two evenings a week and a slightly longer weekend rehearsal for larger setting and runs. This is quite a large cast piece so not all cast will be required for all rehearsals. I have lived with Gypsy to the forefront of my mind for some time now and eagerly await the beginning of rehearsals and exploring the piece with the cast to see what together we will create. As the song goes, ‘Together, wherever we go.ooooo’. 


Female roles

Rose (40-55, main role) A strong, driven woman not above using any means or manipulation necessary to achieve her aims. The archetypal stage mother. Needs strong character singing and acting with three belt-out songs and five duets/trios. Rarely off stage.

June (8, first scene only - small role) 

June (younger/teenage -up to scene 6 - mid-size role)

June (older/adult - scene 6 to end of act 1 only - mid-size role) A moderately talented performer bordering on precocious who believes her mother’s hype. Singing role with one duet and ‘Shirley Temple’ number. Needs good movement and character singing.

Louise (10, first scene only)

Louise (younger/teenage - up to scene 6 - mid-size role)

* Louise (Gypsy) (adult, main role)* Supportive, caring and undervalued with unrecognised talents. Singing role with one solo and three duets/trios. Needs strong acting with a good emotional range. Character singing, movement and must be comfortable in burlesque costume.
* We may opt to cast one actress as both the younger and older Louise. This will be decided at audition.

Miss Cratchett (40-70, one scene only) A strong, competent and confident woman. Non-singing character role which needs subtle comic timing.

Agnes, Geraldine, Carol Ann, Betsy Ann (20-30, small roles) The Toreadorables who become ‘The Hollywood Blondes’. Aspiring performers with an air of naivety and innocence. Louise’s backing girls. Dance movement and singing desirable. Become Gypsy’s backing burlesque dancers.

Tessie Tura (40-60, mid-size role) Stripper. Graceful ex-ballet dancer who has developed a non-forgiving cynicism who ‘grinds it with finesse’ Singing role. Needs balletic movement, strong characterisation and robust character singing.

Mazeppa (40-60, small role) Stripper. Not graceful. A brash rough diamond who ‘bumps it with a trumpet’. Not a shrinking violet. Singing role. Needs strong character acting and an uncompromising singing voice.

Electra (40-60, small role) Stripper. More quiet than the other two but opinionated and no less feisty. ‘Twinkles with a switch’ Singing role. Needs strong character acting and character singing.

Balloon Girl (7-10, first scene only)

Violin Girl (9, First scene only)


Male Roles

Uncle Jocko/Weber/Cigar (50-60, mid-size role) Producers and owners of theatres. Various characterisations including a bolshie bully, detached and objective, supportive but busy. Non-singing roles. Opportunity for actor to create and deliver believable and differing characterisations.

Georgie/Pastey/Goldstone (40, mid-size role) Stage managers and assistants to the above (except Goldstone). Characterisations vary from whipping boys to backbones of establishments. Non-singing with opportunity to inhabit various characterisations.

Pop/Driver/Photographer/Kringelein (70, small role) Rose’s Father. Supportive but with his own uncompromising moral values. Other roles include a hotel manager and various non-speaking roles.

Herbie (45-50, main role) A strong but gentle and caring man who knows show business and has the contacts. Falls in love with Rose and acts as their booking agent. Singing role with two duets and one trio.  A gentle smoothness. Must be able to hold a line and produce restrained emotion.

Yonkers, LA, Kansas, Tulsa (teenage/young adults) Mid-size roles. Up to scene 6 only) Innocent boys with no experience in show business snatched from the street by Rose. They develop skills and knowledge as they grow and progress to become frustrated with the act. Singing roles in chorus with basic dance movement.

Yonkers (adult, mid-size role) Confident, sharp tongued and quick of wit. Not afraid to say what he thinks. Would be the one to stand up to Rose.

LA (adult, mid-size role) A bit of a moaner. Happy to be part of the troupe but doesn’t particularly like sharing. Would be the one who creates a secret plan.

Kansas (adult, mid-size role) Happy to go along with the consensus but doesn’t want to do more than he has to. Borders on laziness.

Tulsa (adult, mid-size role) Kind, gentle and polite. An adaptive person who is not of confident character, except when he is performing where he comes alive. Has become a confident dancer and singer. Has solo song and dance number.

All four older boys/men - second half of act 1 only.


For further info, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Ian Nethersell

Contact Details:  To get in touch with the director before the Reading/Audition, please use the Contact page of this website and your message will be forwarded.

NOTE:   We have an open casting policy:  anyone can audition for our productions and, if cast, will then be required to join as a Full Member.

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