Backstage of the musical Gypsy looks like any other musical at the Omaha Community Playhouse. Stage managers whisper into their walkie-talkies, actors race around wearing very unusual costumes, and a few people are gathered in the Green Room. But listen closely, and you can hear children. Yes, children. In a musical where burlesque stares you in the face, kids perform.
Since Gypsy is a timeline show, June, Louise, and the Farmboys begin as small children, played by Ashton Taylor, Kelli Schilken, Clare Booton, Brock McCullough, Max Hauze, and me: Mary Beth Becker. Our time onstage is very small-only the first half of Act One-but we manage to have fun performing and make the most of our time. However, I think we enjoy our offstage time more. During the rest of the show, we kids hang out in the Dance Studio below the theater. There, we sleep, talk, and play games like “The Playhouse’s Got Talent”. This is our version of “America’s Got Talent”. We perform monologues, sing songs, present funny speeches, and break dance like you wouldn’t believe. Recently, we produced “The Diamond of the Past”, an original musical by Max Hauze, and performed “Gypsy in Five Minutes.”
Performing spoofs of songs in Gypsy is popular entertainment, as well. “Caroline” is used a great deal for this purpose. Also, we pick songs like this from the script and use them as duets. Max and I are polishing our harmony for “If Momma was Married”.
As you can see, the youngsters of Gypsy refuse to be bored this run. It may take all of our creativity to think up something to do, but eventually we find an activity that passes the time. I know I have sincerely enjoyed working with everyone in this wonderful cast, and my fellow Gypsy kids would say the same as well. Wish us luck in the rest of our run!
-Mary Beth Becker, Balloon Girl and Newsboy, Age 12