Shona White plays Mama Rose in Pitlochry Festival Theatre’s production of the legendary musical Gypsy directed by the Theatre’s Associate Director Ben Occhipinti.
This will be the first time in nearly 20 years that the iconic musical has been staged in Scotland. Last produced at Dundee Rep in 2005, Gypsy is one of the greatest and most dazzling of all musicals. Based on the tantalising memoir of famous striptease artist Gypsy Rose Lee, it tells the story of pushy showbiz mother Rose, who travels across America with her daughters, Baby June and Louise, in search of success with their homemade vaudeville act.
Running from 19 May – 30 September, the revival will be the opening production of the Pitlochry Festival 2023 season. Tickets are on sale here.
You’re playing Mama Rose in Gypsy, how would you describe this musical to anyone who has never seen it?
Gypsy is a bonafide classic American book musical with a wonderful score and colourful characters! It’s a musical fable based on the most infamous stage mother and her daughters and what happens to them along their journey as they seek their fortune in show business. It is a show full of song and dance, humour and heart!
It’s the first time it’s been produced in Scotland since 2005, why do you think now is the right time revive it, and what are you looking forward to most about bringing it back to Scotland?
I think we all need a bit of joy right now after a challenging few years, so hopefully our version of this classic musical will transport our audiences to a place where they can escape for a few hours. What I’m looking forward to most about bringing it back to Scotland is the fact it has brought me back to Scotland! It is wonderful to be performing so close to home when my career has taken me so far and wide.
Tell us a little more about Mama Rose, what are you enjoying about playing this iconic character?
She is fierce but in a good way! She just wants the best for her girls however misguided the intensity of her attention on them and intentions for them may seem. She is a lioness! She is ahead of her time in striving for female independence in a time when women didn’t really get to live their dreams.
She is funny and larger than life but with a real heart deep down. This is one of the best musical scores ever written and her songs are a gift! I’m enjoying getting my teeth into this iconic role, and following in the footsteps of some incredible inspirational divas who have come before me. It is a gift of a role!
And what do you think you’ll find most challenging about the role? –
There’s no denying Rose is a huge role! Iconic really! I think the biggest challenge is taking inspiration from those great actresses who have played her before me but making her my own somehow too. She can also seem brash and harsh as a character so I’m enjoying the challenge of trying to show her more vulnerable side.
How does it feel to be working at Pitlochry Festival Theatre?
I used to visit Pitlochry from Fife with my family as a young girl and we’d often see something at the theatre. It’s a beautiful part of Scotland and to be part of the season here has been on my wish list for many years! I’m very happy to be part of the wonderful company this Summer.
What would you say to anyone thinking of booking to see Gypsy?
Don’t think just book! Ha! We promise to deliver a few hours of musical theatre joy in this beautiful theatre and location.
Shona White will be appearing as Mamma Rose in Gypsy at Pitlochry Festival Theatre from 19 May – 30 September. She will also be appearing in the Pitlochry Festival Theatre production of The Secret Garden (7 July – 19 August) and various musical concerts (23 May – 17 September) https://pitlochryfestivaltheatre.com/