‘The Gypsy King’ makes world debut

March 16, 2010

By Chantelle Lusebrink

Village Theatre Eric Ankrim performs as Prince Alphonse in the Village Theatre production of ‘The Gypsy King.’ By John Pai

This world premiere will leave you rolling in the aisles, if it hasn’t already.

From a groundswell of passionate Village Theatre officials and test audiences, Emmy Award-winner Randy Rogel’s musical “The Gypsy King” debuts on Village’s Mainstage March 17.

It is “an airtight farce with hilarious well-drawn characters and a plot full of twists and turns that rival the classic comedies of the 1930s and 1940s,” Director Richard Gray said in a press release.

Theater officials first spotted the show at the National Alliance for Musical Theatre’s new works festival in 2007.

“We loved it and immediately brought it back with us to workshop further, in hopes that we would one day be able to put it up on the mainstage,” Executive Producer Robb Hunt said in the release.Rogel has worked with Village Theatre before and has since gone on to win three Emmys, a Peabody award and two Annie awards for his work as a television writer, composer and producer.

After securing the show, theater officials initially presented the piece in its Festival of New Musicals in 2008, where its popularity commanded further stage development for its First Stage debut in 2009.

Both productions generated positive feedback from audiences and became a shoe-in for the 2009-10 mainstage season.

“I have participated in the Festival of New Musicals since its inception and have been lucky to direct readings of some very funny musicals, including ‘Like You Like It’ and ‘Iron Curtain,’” Gray said. “Still, I have never seen an audience reaction like the one we had for ‘The Gypsy King’ at the festival in 2008.”

“Being a part of a festival reading and a developmental workshop of a show makes the full production that much more satisfying,” Eric Ankrim, who plays the show’s dual lead roles as Frederick and Prince Alfonse, wrote in an e-mail. “I’m honored to be a part of this show’s introduction to not only Issaquah, but hopefully America.”

Leo and Frederick are a father-son gypsy-acting duo whose run-in with the royal guard causes quite a conundrum. Frederick, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Prince Alfonse, a royal pain who finds himself in a dangerous position.

The look-alike misadventure leads Frederick into the middle of an assassination plot and takes him further and faster than he’d have dared to go before.

“It’s not often that a part like this comes around,” Ankrim wrote. “I play identical twins, get to be the bad guy and the romantic lead, hang from the ceiling, almost get thrown out the window, sword fight myself, get slapped three times, act, sing and dance. I’m doing everything under the sun in this show, and I love it.”

The show runs in Issaquah through April 25.

If you go

‘The Gypsy King’

Village Theatre’s

Francis J. Gaudette Theatre

303 Front St. N.

March 17 – April 25

Show times vary

Tickets: $19 – $59

Box Office: 392-2202 or

www.villagetheatre.org

Chantelle Lusebrink: 392-6434, ext. 241, or clusebrink@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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