This production starring Patti LuPone is the fifth Broadway run of the classic musical. It first opened in 1959, starring Ethel Merman. Other revivals have starred Angela Lansbury, Tyne Daly, and Bernadette Peters. I have not seen any of the other productions, so it’s difficult to imagine anyone but LuPone in the role of Mama Rose, the classic stage mother.
For anyone who doesn’t know, Gypsy is the story of the stripper Gypsy Rose Lee, born Rose Louise Hovick. It is adapted from her memoir, written in 1957. Louise and her sister June supported their family by performing in vaudeville. It was apparent early on that June(later known as the actress June Havoc) was the talented sister. When she left the act, Louise turned to burlesque to support herself and her mother.
The show has some great songs. The song I can’t get out of my head is You Gotta Get a Gimmick. It is sung to Louise by three more experienced strippers, and it really is a funny number. And anyone who thinks that Everything’s Coming Up Roses is a happy song, well think again.
The show is great, but only because of Patti LuPone as Mama Rose, the star of the show. Mama Rose has most of the good lines, and many of the great songs. She is an incredible character. So-go see Gypsy, but only if a talented actress with an outstanding voice plays Mama Rose.