FEATURE: Sherry McCamley as “Mama Rose” in Covedale’s GYPSY

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Today we are joined by Sherry McCamley, who will play “Mama Rose” in the Covedale Center for the Performing Arts production of GYPSY, which opens this week.

Hi Sherry!  You sure do stay busy and active in the theatre community . . . besides GYPSY, what have you been up to lately?

I’m always busy, which I guess is a good thing!  I’m musical director for Showbiz Players‘ “Spamalot” at The Carnegie (runs May 30-June 8), I’m Drama Director at Milford High School (just finished the musical “Working”, now in rehearsal for “The Crucible”), and I’m Music Director for the Junior Musical theatre class at SCPA.

Wow!  That’s a lot of gigs.  How did you get started in music and theatre? 

I started playing piano at the age of 6, and my first paying gig was at the age of 13 – I played for a bowling banquet, for which I was paid $5 and a free game! I was in an all-girl singing group starting at that age, and was always in choirs and theatre in high school. In college I was a music major at Penn State, in a rock & roll band, took some theatre courses and ended up being in and music directing several Thespian productions. I also started music directing at the local community theatre group at the age of 18 – it was in an actual BARN, with the orchestra in the hayloft! I was on tour with a show (playing piano and singing) for the Bicentennial for 4 months during college, where we travelled with real wagons and horses from Wyoming to Missouri and Maine to Valley Forge PA. During that tour I met another gal – a great singer who is still a dear friend – and we started a cabaret act, played in NYC and Pennsylvania. I’ve played cabaret gigs in California, NYC, PA, FL, and NJ. When my husband Steve and I lived in CA, I worked with a theatre group called Newstage Playhouse, in which I acted, sang, played piano & drums, and helped workshop original productions in the San Francisco Bay area. Since moving to Cincinnati 18 years ago, I’ve done both music gigs and theatre gigs.

GypsyLogoFor those who don’t know, can you tell us about GYPSY and specifically who Mama Rose is?

“Gypsy” is based on the memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee, a famous stripper & TV personality whose mother, Rose, was the penultimate “Stage Mother.” Mama Rose dragged her 2 daughters all over the country in the 1920’s, playing vaudeville houses – and was determined that her daughters become STARS! The character of Mama Rose has become the iconic Stage Mother – a mother who lives through her children and pushes them to become performers.

Anything we should specifically look for with this particular production?

We have a GREAT cast! I’m very lucky to have my good friend John Langley as “Herbie” (Rose’s love interest and agent) – he is perfect for the role and helps bolster my confidence daily! The two young women playing June (Taylor Alexander) and Louise (Brianna Barnes) are CCM students and are fantastic! Actually, everyone is very well cast in their roles, and are a pleasure to work with, along with our fabulous directors DeeAnne Bryll and Ed Cohen!

I can’t wait to see the show.  So, what’s next for you after this?

“The Crucible” goes up at Milford High School May 16, 2 weeks after “Gypsy” closes. Then “Spamalot” runs at The Carnegie from May 30-June 8. After that I have various gigs coming up in the summer, but I also plan on taking a little break! My website: www.sherrymccamley.com. I also have a Facebook fan page and am on twitter @sherrymccamley.

GYPSY opens this Thursday, April 10th, at the Covedale Center for the Performing Arts on the west side of Cincinnati.  Tickets and more information are available here.

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