Everything is coming up roses at Toby’s Dinner Theatre this month as Gypsytakes the stage, running until Sunday, March 17th. Regarded by many theatre professionals as the greatest musical ever created, Gypsy is the tale of an ambitious stage mother fighting for her daughters’ success while secretly yearning for her own. Baltimore OUTloud recently chatted with actress MaryKate Brouillet who plays Louise in the Columbia-based production.

“I would describe Louise,” Brouillet began, “as an incredibly bright and strong woman, but she doesn’t know that all along while growing up. She’s always pushed to the side and is constantly cut off by her mother and overlooked and overshadowed by her sister June.”

Brouillet, an Ellicott City-native, can relate to some of parts of her character. “I grew up very quiet, and somewhat shy. I didn’t really find my voice until I was older. I definitely relate to Louise in that way. She really blossomed after she was free from her mother’s grip. I think we can all relate to that. We don’t know what we’re capable of until we have no choice and are thrown into something.”

Like Louise, Brouillet had star quality from a young age. “I always loved music. My mother is a music teacher. I grew up singing and always had a love for that. When I was about 11 years old, they were having auditions for Annieat the local high school. I was in that production. From then on Toby [Orenstein, artistic director and owner of Toby’s] had her in the theatre’s youth program, the Young Columbians. I did the touring group as a pre-teen and teenager. So, I grew up with Toby as a mentor and teacher, and that’s when I fell in love with performing. I knew it was what I really wanted to do.”

Brouillet feels that some of the themes of Gypsy – such as a domineering stage mother – are stories both relevant in the entertainment industry and with parents overall today. “Take for instance the show “Dance Moms.” That’s very relevant, and we know people like that in real life. I’ve had different audience members reach out to me, whether in person or on the internet, and say that our performance really made them look at their parenting. Or, even, made them look at their relationship with their parents. I never expected to be able to reach people on that level through this performance, so that’s been something very cool.”

For tickets and more info, visit Tobysdinnertheatre.com.

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Frankie Kujawa
Frankie Kujawa
Since 2011, arts writer Frankie Kujawa has covered a wide scope of entertainment stories and celebrity interviews. From the late Carrie Fisher and LGBTQ icon George Takei to comedians Lily Tomlin and Kathy Griffin to performer Idina Menzel, Kujawa’s candid interview ability brings readers past the byline and into the heart of the story. His unbiased previews of Baltimore-Washington’s theatre scene have allowed readers an inside glimpse of today’s most popular local and national performances. A Baltimore-native, Kujawa is proud to call Charm City his home.