GYPSY Reviews

Cindy Benson as Mama Rose in GYPSY
Directed by Tom Morrissey
Texas Star Theatre

Morrissey's biggest coup is bringing in New York/L.A. actor CINDY BENSON to portray Rose, the infamous stage mother who refuses to believe that vaudeville is dead. Hers is a different Rose than the Ethel Merman - Rosalind Russell mold some might consider definitive. BENSON’S version is best summed up in her reply to Herbie (Michael Kostroff), when he asks whether her act is any good. "It's great," she says, not as a reactive affirmation, but with the kind of confidence that comes with a hint of doubt. BENSON doesn't rush and yell about the stage, as other Roses would. She's still tyrannical to a degree, as Rose must be, but in a more driven way. She's a hard worker who honestly wants the best for her daughters. She also has the vocal chops: Her Rose's Turn finale is emotionally breathtaking.
MARK LOWRY - Fort Worth Star-Telegram

GYPSY - Wow!!!! Broadway actress CINDY BENSON, who plays Mama Rose, earned every dollar director Morrissey paid her to come to Texas. BENSON is a powerful entertainer. She acts, sings and dances with a level of energy that dominates the stage and engages the audience. She was entirely believable as the overbearing, relentless and indefatigable stage mother who is determined to make stars of her two daughters…a superb performance!
STAN WEINBERG - Hood County News

In the role of "Rose" CINDY BENSON is in one word, magnificent. This talented lady played the evil "Mme. Thenardier" in LES MISERABLES on Broadway. As the stage mother of them all, BENSON has wisely decided to pull back and then progress into the emotional wreck that she becomes in the second act. So many of the previous actresses whom I have seen play "Rose" tend to focus primarily on the music and not the book. Thus their performances feel as through they are rushing through the emotional book only to get to the next song. BENSON does not have a hint of this at all. Instead she devours the book, giving the scenes dark, intense emotion. She is wickedly funny in the frothy scenes, but then shows stark, organic truth to the dramatic scenes.

For the second act reprise of "Small World", her voice cracks and breaks from the emotional devastation of losing her husband to be. Her eyes well up in tears as she struggles with the ballad. It is performances like this that make these warhorse musicals still shine. Then she brings it home with one of the most famous 11:00 o'clock numbers, "Rose's Turn". BENSON may be a tiny lady, but the girl's got some power lungs! She belts to the back wall on that final note within this aria. She devours the lyrics as if it were a monologue from MEDEA. It is a haunting musical number that is breathtaking to watch and hear. BENSON delivers one of the best performances by an actress in a musical this season!


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