Barley Sheaf Closes Historic 50th Anniversary Season with Beloved Classic: GYPSY

by Patricia Bradford

The Barley Sheaf Players are set to perform their final regular-season show of their 50th Anniversary Season, the classic musical GYPSY. Loosely based on the memoirs of burlesque dancer Gypsy Rose Lee, the musical centers around a mother, Rose, who dreams of having a daughter on the stage. Described as “the ultimate show business mother,” it seems that Rose will stop at nothing to have one of her daughters succeed in the biz. When things do not go as planned with her older daughter, June, Rose then turns to Louise to pursue stardom.

The role of Rose is one of the most complex characters in the history of musicals, and it is one that many an actress has set her eyes on to tackle. Indeed, the role of Rose has been filled by many great stage actresses on Broadway and the West End, including Bernadette Peters, Patti LuPone, and Imelda Staunton. In Barley Sheaf’s production, the role of Rose will be played by Alicia Huppman, who is likely known to many area theater-goers, as she has played major roles in musicals in several local community theaters and was last seen at Barley Sheaf in the title role in The Drowsy Chaperone.

With music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and a book by Arthur Laurents, GYPSY has been described by many critics as the greatest American musical, which is one of the reasons that director Greg Morton wanted to bring it back to the Barley Sheaf stage. For their 50th Anniversary Season, the Barley Sheaf Players decided to stage revivals of some of their favorite shows from the past 50 years of their existence, and GYPSY was originally performed there in the 1970s. Mr. Morton said, “I just want to be able to honor [the show] for people who love it,” and he has staged a production that is true to so many of the classic elements that fans of the show are sure to love. GYPSY has been revived three times in the past 15 years in New York and London, often bringing in several Tony and Olivier awards, including awards for Best Revival of a Musical.

One thing that is special about community theater is that it often gives family members who enjoy acting the chance to share the stage together, and this production of Gypsy is no exception. Though their personal relationships are likely much different than the relationships of Rose and her daughters on stage, Kim Knipe of West Chester is sharing the stage with her two daughters (Bailey and Casey) in the Barley Sheaf production.

GYPSY is set to open at Barley Sheaf on Friday, June 1 and runs through Saturday, June 23. Shows are Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00pm, with two Sunday matinees on June 10 and June 17 at 2:00pm. Reservations can be made online at or by calling the box office at 610-363-7075. The theater is located at 810 North Whitford Road in Lionville.

Theater/Organization The Barley Sheaf Players
Theater/Organization Website:

Theater/Organization Address: 810 N. Whitford Road Lionville, Pennsylvania 19353 (Map It)
Theater/Organization Phone: (610) 363-7075

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