AS news spread of The Q’s decision to drop the planned April-May production of “Gypsy” with Geraldine Turner, both the director and the star of the show have gone public on Facebook, while the theatre has gone silent.
Both say they have not been spoken to by The Q’s program manager, Stephen Pike.
Musical theatre star Geraldine Turner, who was to have played the lead role of Mamma Rose, said in her post: “Last Thursday I heard they were replacing the director. A large part of my agreeing to do it was that this director would present me well. Anyway, by Friday, my agent was negotiating for one of his clients to take over as director. At about 5pm a representative of Q Performing Arts Centre called.”
Turner’s verbatim report of the exchange is as follows:
Rep: I am sorry to have to tell you this but we have decided to cancel Gypsy.
Me: (silence … can’t speak) Long pause
Rep: I really want to tell you something. You are a lovely lady and I’ve enjoyed meeting you.”
In reference to the fact that Turner has been disappointed not once but five times before in her ambition to play the role made famous on Broadway by Ethel Merman (who had died on February 15, Turner noted) she asked: “How can people keep doing this?”
Directory Rodney Delaney has now responded directly to the “CityNews” story of February 16, saying: “I was the instigator of the project; why would I withdraw? No. I was removed as director at 2.44pm, Thursday, February 14.
“We had gotten together a supremely gifted company of local players to join Ms Turner in bringing ‘Gypsy’ to life. Indeed, a feather in The Q’s cap, as you so rightly point out, a win for performers, audiences and local businesses.
“Now we all lose out due to the mishandling of the project by the local ‘steering team’.”
Meantime, Sydney theatre magazine “Stage Whispers” which, like “CityNews”, reported that the show had been cancelled because Delaney withdrew after casting problems, has issued a challenge: “Can someone stage ‘Gypsy’ in 2020 to make it sixth time lucky for Geraldine?”
“CityNews” understands that the chief problems relate to the unavailability of small boys to play the gender-specific roles, as well as questions about the set construction.
As the exchange of opinions about the order of events continues, what was to have been a triumph for Queanbeyan Palerang Regional Council, has turned into a well-publicised fiasco.