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This article is about the stage musical. For the source book, see Gypsy: A Memoir. Gypsy is a 1959 musical with music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and a book by Arthur Laurents. A musical based on the memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee was a project of producer David Merrick and actress Ethel Merman. Merrick had read a chapter of Lee’s memoirs in Harper’s Magazine and approached Lee to obtain the rights. Rose and her two daughters, Baby June and Louise, play the vaudeville circuit around the United States in the early 1920s.
Rose, the archetype of a stage mother, is aggressive and domineering, pushing her children to perform. While June is an extroverted, talented child star, the older girl, Louise, is shy. June is soon offered a place at a Performing Arts school after an audition. However, Rose turns this down, refusing to break up the act. Louise is now a young woman, and Rose has built a pale imitation of the Dainty June act for her.
Using all girls, Rose and Herbie try valiantly to sell “Madame Rose’s Toreadorables” to a fading vaudeville industry. In the months that follow Louise becomes secure, always following her mother’s advice to “Make ’em beg for more, and then don’t give it to them! The song becomes brasher and brassier, and more and more articles of clothing come off. Ultimately, Louise becomes a major burlesque star and does not need her mother any longer.
In the 1974 and 2008 Broadway revivals, although the final dialogue scene remains, there is not a happy ending, but rather a bleak, sad one as all hopes of reconciliation for Rose and Louise fall flat when Louise walks away, laughing sarcastically at Rose’s new “dream. The audience is then left with a Rose whose dream of her own lit up marquee slowly fades away to her craziness within taking over. In the 2003 revival starring Bernadette Peters, the final dialogue scene remains, but leaves the ending open to more interpretation from the audience. Louise walks through the stage door, with Rose following behind. Rose then turns to face the audience, a look of sadness and longing on her face as she takes one last look at the empty stage. She pauses and slowly closes the door. In the 2015 West End revival starring Imelda Staunton, Louise begins to walk out, and Rose catches up after waking up to reality.
Louise puts her arm around Rose as they exit together, giving off the appearance that Louise is taking care of Rose instead. Goldstone” in the 2003 revival, “Have an Eggroll, Mr. Goldstone” in the 2008 revival, and “Mr. IBDB, both Tulsa and Louise sing the song. Titled “The Strip” in the 2008 revival and on the recording of the 1989 revival. Baby June and Baby Louise titled “Mama’s Talkin’ Soft”. In analyzing the character of Rose, Clive Barnes described her as “bossy, demanding, horrific”.
Rich described Rose as “a monster”. Critic Walter Kerr commented that though Rose is a monster, she must be liked and understood. Brantley noted that Rose is a “mythic character”. She is “raditionally presented as an armored tank on autopilot, which finally crashes only minutes before the final curtain”.
Bernadette Peters’ take on the character was different: “Rose was a woman who was traumatized by her own mother leaving her at an early age. I think that longing for acceptance is what fuels all her ambition. In the end, when she confronts herself in ‘Rose’s Turn’, she realizes she has failed her daughter just as her own mother failed herand that destroys Rose. The original Broadway production opened on May 21, 1959 at The Broadway Theatre, transferred to the Imperial Theatre, and closed on March 25, 1961 after 702 performances and two previews.
Critic Frank Rich has referred to Robbins’ work as one of the most influential stagings of a musical in American theatrical history. When the show closed in March 1961, two national touring companies toured the US. The first company starred Merman and opened in March 1961 at the Rochester, New York Auditorium, and closed in December 1961 at the American, St. In 1973, it was announced that Elaine Stritch would be starring in the first West End production of the show. Prior to opening on Broadway, the Lansbury West End production had a 24-week tour of North America, starting in Toronto, and then travelling to many cities, including Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Washington, DC and Boston. A second revival had pre-Broadway engagements starting at the Jackie Gleason Theater of the Performing Arts, Miami Beach, Florida, in May 1989, and Tampa in May, then The Muny, St.
The production opened on Broadway on November 16, 1989, at the St. James Theatre, and then moved to the Marquis Theatre on April 18, 1991 and closed on July 28, 1991 after 476 performances and 23 previews. This production won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Revival and Daly won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance. A new Broadway revival began previews on March 31, 2003 and opened on May 1, 2003 at the Shubert Theatre. The director was Sam Mendes, with choreography by Jerry Mitchell and costumes and sets by Anthony Ward. Peters, however, can be said to have broken the Merman mold completely. Gypsy twice set new box office records for the Shubert Theatre.
874,397 represented the highest gross for a show in Shubert history. However, the cast “questioned Arthur relentlessly aboutthe scenes”, and he “tossed the old prompt book out and freed” the actors to explore. James Theatre on March 27, 2008. You see, everyone’s starved for attention in Gypsy.