The North Riverside Recreation Community theater group came through again with another winner in their presentation of “Gypsy.”

I have probably seen a gazillion productions of “Gypsy,” the story of stripper Gypsy Rose Lee, since it was first produced-and, frankly, I don’t like it much. Oh, the music is great with some memorable songs.

I just don’t like the story line of the dominating stage mom, as it is really the story of Rose the mom, rather than of Louise (Gypsy). But, one has to give credit to the cast, which made this one of the more remarkable productions I have seen, especially taking into account that the little theater company is using the North Riverside Commons gym to produce the play.

It is one of the better venues around for doing this sort of thing, but it is still difficult to pull off so as to get the lights, audio, direction and everything else in place.

Kudos go to the lead, Michelle McKenzie-Voigt who makes Mama Rose come to life and make her every bit as unlikable to me as I would expect. She is kind of a pathetic figure as well, and McKenzie-Voigt got more than one standing ovation for her portrayal.

Jim Heatherly, who plays the mousey Herbie, an agent who wishes to marry Rose, settle down, be normal, is kind of wasted in this production, because he really is a strong lead.

But, this is not a production which highlights men. I will always remember Heatherly first and foremost from his action in “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.” Still, he plays the intimidated agent/boyfriend of Mama Rose perfectly, and one can only like his character, feel sorry for it.

We see numerous Baby Junes and Louises as they grow up before our eyes, and all are exceptional. It really is a pleasant experience to come and spend an afternoon or evening with this theater ensemble.

And, I have to admit, I always enjoy seeing North Riverside Trustee Jim Votava take a role in any of these productions. This time he was the kindly grandfather, and he was perfectly cast for the job. North Riverside really has a gem in this theater company.

Get your calendars ready for the next production, “Chicago” on October 3, 4, 5, 10, 11 and 12. Audtiions will be in June and July. So, for more info, go to or call Al Meyer at 447-6263.

Straight talk

A big thanks to the three Riverside Township police chiefs who came out for the Riverside Township Regular Republican Organization regular meeting on the subject of “Drugs and Gangs in Our Community.”

Chiefs Tom Wetzel, Riverside; Tony Garvey, North Riverside; and Steve Stelter, Brookfield, each gave a five-minute overview of the workings of their respective departments and the problems they were facing locally and how they were addressing those problems.

Then, they took any and all questions from the room full of parents of high school, junior high and elementary school students.

All agreed that anti-crime sweeps in the City of Chicago have moved some gang members to the western suburbs, who then brought gang activity with them. However, they were quick to note, that there was home-grown gang activity here as well, and it did not necessarily have to be tied to drugs. Why? Because, young people want to join things, be a part of things. Gangs, like other organizations, offer peer acceptance which some of these youngsters crave.

Riverside Township Supervisor Rich Tuscher said he would be happy to try to organize mayors and township officers feeding into Riverside-Brookfield High School to see if he could get all to donate monies to pay a full-time juvenile officer to be assigned to the school

In attending the meeting, I had to use a wheelchair to accommodate my knee surgery. I think everyone should try this at some time so as to get a feel for what disabled people have to go through to get to their respective destinations.

My son, Joe (Pepi), was doing the pushing, and at least twice we had difficulty with lips in the concrete. Having said that, I am so pleased that the township continues to have a closet full of post surgical and other medical equipment available for borrowing.

If anyone has any extra equipment left over from surgery, like crutches, braces, bathtub seats and the like, I am sure that the township would be thrilled to have them donated for future borrowings.