Searching for stardom

Gypsy’ tells the story of Mama Rose, the ultimate stage mother, and her daughters in their trip across America in their quest for stardom.

It’s showtime: Gypsy will be on stage at the Arden Theatre, 40 N. 2nd St., through June 25.

By Rita Charleston

Set in the fading days of the vaudeville circuit, Gypsy closes the season on the Arden Theatre Company’s F. Otto Haas Stage, 40 N. 2nd St.

Directed by Terrence Nolan, and running through June 25, the show is the story of Mama Rose, the ultimate stage mother, and her daughters, June and Louise, in their trip across America in their quest for stardom.

The show features a legendary musical score, including such classics as Let Me Entertain You, Wherever We Go and Everything’s Coming Up Roses.

It also features an all-star cast, including Monica Horan, who has roots in Delaware County but is now a Los Angeles-based actress probably best known for her role as Amy in the hit TV series Everybody Loves Raymond.

Horan appeared on the show for nine seasons, from 1997 to 2005, and insists she loved every moment of it.

“I even love watching it today. It’s like watching old home movies. And even after all these years, I still get hugged a lot in grocery stores by people who remember the show fondly.”

Growing up in Upper Darby and a devoted fan of comedienne Carol Burnett, Horan majored in theater at Hofstra University, and spent seven seasons at the Upper Darby Summer Stage.

“That was an amazing program, and I did children’s theater there for years, the last one being Miss Hannigan in Annie, which was directed by Terrence Nolan, an old friend who, coincidently, is directing this production of Gypsy.”

Later, banding together with a bunch of friends from Upper Darby, Horan and the group formed their own “starving artist players” to produce their own shows. And one day, actor/writer Phil Rosenthal, who was to become her husband, saw her in a play and was fascinated. He later went on to create Everybody Loves Raymond.

One script called for a girlfriend of Deborah’s to go on a date with Robert,” Horan explains. “One of the writers, not my husband, suggested me for the role. Well, everyone liked me so much that by the second season, Robert and I got married, and I became a regular from then on.”

Cast in many fine shows during her career — including a small but recurring comedic role on TV’s The Bold and the Beautiful — Horan finds her role in Gypsy one of her favorites. Playing Miss Cratchit, a comedy actress in Act I, she literally kicks up her heels in Act II as Tessie Tura, who, along with two other strippers, teach Gypsy the ropes by singing, You Gotta Have A Gimmick.

In addition to appearing on stage, Horan works tirelessly behind the scenes to promote art education in schools. She has become a board member at the Arden, and says she’s thrilled when she gets to perform there alongside wonderful Philadelphia actors.

“Today, I’m thrilled to be able to achieve so many of my dreams,” she concludes. “My kids are grown, my family supports everything I do, and I still get to perform and bring joy to a whole lot of people.” ••

For more information, call the Arden box office at 215–922–1122 or visit ardentheatre.org