capital-rep.JPGMaggie Mancinelli-Cahill directs cast of 23 stage veterans, local favorites and young stars in "the greatest of all American musicals." Albany, N.Y. -"Some People," "Small World," "Everything's Coming up Roses," "Together, Wherever We Go," "You Gotta Get a Gimmick," "Let Me Entertain You," "Rose's Turn..." Gypsy: A Musical Fable truly does have one of the great scores in the history of American Musical Theatre. And its tale, of the waning days of Vaudeville, is as memorable as its tunes. Based on the showbiz memoir of stripper Gypsy Rose Lee, the piece was created by producer David Merrick as a vehicle for Broadway superstar Ethel Merman. Merman turned the role of Rose, the domineering stage mother from hell, into an iconic figure.  Boston-based actress Mary Callanan, fresh from a stint on Broadway in Annie, is Rose at theREP. Kelsey Crouch plays Louise, the shy, second-fiddle sister who transforms into the "First Lady of Burlesque," They lead an exemplary cast of 23, including fellow Broadway vets Bob Walton and George Franklin; regional favorites LoriAnn Frieda and Hillary Parker; and local leading lights including Benita Zahn, Cara O'Brien and Joe Phillips. The original creative team assembled for the 1959 Broadway production was ripe with talent. Led by legendary director and choreographer Jerome Robbins, Arthur Laurents wrote the book; Jule Styne crafted the score; and Stephen Sondheim penned the lyrics. Broadway legend has it that Merman wasn't happy with the still unproven Sondheim handling the score on his own, so she asked for Styne to be added to the project. Sondheim demurred tackling lyrics only until his mentor Oscar Hammerstein urged him to learn how to write for a "star." The creative team at theREP is also impressive. Producing Artistic Director Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill leads the team, which includes Choreographer Freddie Ramirez (who also plays L.A. in the show); Assistant Choreographer Susan Caputo; Musical Director Adam Jones; Set Designer Roman Tatarowicz; Lighting Designer Ryan O'Gara; Costume Designer Denise Massman; and Sound Designer Brad Berridge. In addition to her turn as Mrs. Pugh in the Broadway revival of Annie, Callanan counts national tours of Big, Mamma Mia!, Damn Yankees, The Sound Of Music and Cinderella among her credits-along with a list of regional theatre roles that read like the American songbook. A favorite in her hometown of Boston, Callanan brings an established fan base for her recordings and cabaret appearances to the role of Rose, which has defined the meaning of "stage mother" for generations.   Walton plays Herbie, Rose's love interest and the act's manager. Callanan's accomplished co-star was last seen on Broadway in The Drowsy Chaperone, following appearances in 42nd Street, The Ziegfeld Follies Of 1936, Showboat, City Of Angels and Once Upon A Mattress with Sarah Jessica Parker. His wide-ranging career encompasses experience as an actor, director and musical director, working with greats like Mickey Rooney and Ginger Rogers. Crouch, who comes from a showbiz family herself, has performed internationally in shows like Parade, The Wizard of Oz, Follies and The Sound of Music. Zahn, popular news anchor and health reporter for WNYT, makes her Capital Repertory Theatre debut as Electra, one of the burlesque strippers who introduces Louise to the craft of the ecdysiast. Of the 1989 Broadway revival, Frank Rich wrote in The New York Times, "Gypsy is nothing if not Broadway's own brassy, unlikely answer to 'King Lear." Taut, tuneful and entertaining, Gypsy is a masterpiece, brought to you as only theREP can deliver it-up close and personal, as you have never experienced before! Preview performances for Gypsy: A Musical Fable-which runs approximately 165 minutes with one intermission-take place March 14-16. Opening night is Tuesday, March 18. Regular performances continue through Sunday, April 13. Performance times: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; and 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday-with matinees 3 p.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday; and 2 p.m. Wednesday, March 26. Capital Repertory Theatre, 111 N. Pearl Street, Albany. Tickets range from $20 to $65. Students with valid ID: $16 all shows. For tickets and information, call TICKETS BY PROCTORS, (518) 445-SHOW (7469) or visit Opening night includes a live café performance at 6:30 p.m. featuring jazz guitarist Joe Finn; and complimentary post-show champagne and dessert. The Chef's Table performance, on Tuesday, March 25, includes pre-show music by Finn and complimentary hors d'oeuvres for ticket holders from Yono's/dp An American Brasserie, beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the lobby. Discussion nights for Gypsy: A Musical Fable, with the director and cast members, will take place following the Wednesday evening performances on March 26 and April 2. The Sunday, April 6 matinee will be preceded by a Behind-the-Scenes event, which features a complimentary light continental breakfast and discussion led by Producing Artistic Director Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill. Food service begins at 12:30 p.m., with the presentation following from 1-1:30 p.m.  Gypsy: A Musical Fable is sponsored by M&T Bank, with sub-sponsor Greenberg Traurig. ###