The story of Gypysies comes to an end

Let me entertain you, let me make you smile…… and if you’re real good, i’ll make you feel good…

Illiana Garcia, Kylee Verhoff, Najha Forbey and Jordana McMoahon in the production "Gypsy" April 13, 2016. Picture by Will Richards

Illiana Garcia, Kylee Verhoff, Najha Forbey and Jordana McMoahon in the production “Gypsy” April 13, 2016. Picture by Will Richards

This tune rung through the halls the whole night but progressively changed meanings each time it was sung – from completely innocent to completely sexual.

Western Carolina University’s School of Stage and Screen production of “Gypsy” in the John W. Bardo center last week, April 14 to 17 was a big success. 

The story is about a girl, Louise/Gypsy Rose Lee played by Kylee Verhoff, who starts off as an innocent and shy girl who one day blossoms into one of the most famous strippers of her time and finally captures the attention of her mother.

In the shadow of her sister’s talent and unnoticed by her mother, they travel around city to city putting on shows in an attempt to make a name for themselves. Throughout the play you follow the journey of a family struggle to make their show reach the Orpheum Circuit. The talented daughter, June played by Kelsey Aycock, eventually makes it big with an acting career, leaving her family to the dust and leaving Louise to try to live up to her success. And she makes it big!

“It’s a journey of growth. I (Louise/Gypsy Rose Lee) begin very shy and naive and blossom into a confident woman who is ready to bat for herself at any moment and doesn’t rely on anyone for her success. A lot of the show is me trying to develop a relationship with my mother, who doesn’t want very much to do with me until the end when i’m successful and no longer crave her approval,” Verhoff explains the show from her perspective of her role.

The performance of “Gypsy” was extremely captivating, passionate and beautiful. Each actor put all of their passion into their roles to make the story come to life on stage. Every note sung, and every line said conveyed nothing but realism and passion.

“Pay attention to your family. Listen to them, pay attention to their needs, try to understand them. Everyone is talented, some in different ways than others. People change, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse,” Verhoff explains what the audience should have taken away from the ending of “Gypsy.”

On April 16, the Friends of the Arts held a big fundraising and a gala to benefit the students of the College of Fine and Performing Arts. They raised nearly $120,000 to help with students scholarships and programming.