With its huge cast, multiple settings, book by Arthur Laurents, score by Jules Stein and catchy lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, this show has become a quintessential Broadway musical, making demands that are hard to meet in a 99-seat theater. Director Richard Israel proves it can be scaled down without losing its pizzazz. And Jan Sheldrick, as the bullying, possessive Mama Rose, takes a role that has been played by the likes of Ethel Merman, Angela Lansbury, Rosalind Russell and Bette Midler, and makes it triumphantly her own, with quiet moments as well as brassy ones. Stephanie Wall provides a fine performance as Rose Louise the future Gypsy Rose Lee marred only by the fact that she's not always audible. The large cast, headed by Michael Matthys as Mama Rose's browbeaten swain, Eric Allen Smith as the young song-and-dance man Tulsa and Kelly Swanson as Mama Rose's other daughter, Dainty June, provides fine support, along with veteran performers Larry Lederman and Tony Pandolfo. Sara J. Stuckey, Kelly Jean Cuir and Jessica Schatz score as the strippers who sing "You Gotta Get a Gimmick." Johanna Kent's music direction and John Todd's choreography keep things lively. Theatre of Arts Arena Stage, 1625 N. Las Palmas Ave., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; thru July 3. Produced by West Coast Ensemble. (323) 655-0108, westcoastensemble.org.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Starts: May 13. Continues through July 31, 2011
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