Zachary Gipson isn’t just a theatrical double-threat. He isn’t even a
Gipson, 25--a 2006 graduate of Chesterton High School--is the proverbial
quintuple threat, at least for the current run of The Musical of Musicals
now showing at The 4th Street Theater.
Gipson is not only appearing in the show, playing The Hero, he’s also
directing, choreographing, set-designing, and--in association with Kokandy
Productions of Chicago--producing.
“I’m doing a little bit of an Orson Welles,” Gipson jokes.
Gipson now lives in Chicago, where he’s studying set design on a
Presidential Scholarship at Columbia College, building on the work he did
for six years after graduating from CHS as a freelance set designer in
Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana.
Gipson has designed for children’s theater, cabaret, plays, even weddings
and independent films, but his special fondness is for musical theater.
“I’ve found I have a better experience in musical theater and have more
fun,” he says. “It might not pay better but it’s what I’ve set my heart on.”
So this summer he decided to come home to Chesterton and produce a musical.
“I’ve put the money on the table, coordinated all the logistics, found a
piano player, called The 4th Street Theater to rent the space, basically
pulled everyone together. If you want it done right, you do it yourself.
“It made sense to start in my roots and grow from there,” Gipson adds.
“Ticket sales are going well. The theater is intimate.”
But producing? That’s staking your own cash.
“This summer I told myself I wanted to expand,” Gipson says. “I want to play
the student card while I can.”
The Musical of Musicals--book by Eric Rockwell and Joanne Bogart, with
music by Rockwell and lyrics Bogart--is a family-friendly show which pokes
affectionate fun at the genre, with a single plot refracted through five
different stylistic treatments: Rodgers & Hammerstein, Stephen Sondheim,
Jerry Herman, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Kander & Ebb. If you like The
Phantom of the Opera, Cats, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of
Fleet Street, you’re going to love The Musical of Musicals.
“It has a go at some very well know staple American and British musicals,”
After finishing his degree work at Columbia College, Gipson would like to do
some performing on a cruise line. “It will take me a million places,” he
But he’s got a lot on his plate right now. Even as he’s up to his eyeballs
in The Musical of Musicals, Gipson is designing a set for a show in
The Musical of Musicals stars Gipson as The Hero, Lindsay Foreman as The
Ingenue, Michele Craig as The Diva, and Kurt Gillins as The Villain, with
piano by Jeff Otto.
It continues its run this weekend, tonight and Saturday; and closes next
weekend, with shows on Thursday, Aug. 29, Friday, Aug. 30, and Saturday,
Aug. 31. All show times are at 8 p.m., with a running time of 90 minutes.
There will also be a closing matinee at 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 1.
All tickets are $18 and can be purchased by calling The 4th Street Theater’s
box office at (219) 926-7875. The 4th Street Theater is located at 125 N.
Fourth Street in Chesterton.