2013 Tony Awards Clip Countdown: #4 - GYPSY
Today we are continuing BroadwayWorld's 2013 Tony Awards Clip Countdown with a special spotlight focused on one of the greatest musicals ever presented, highlighted by one of the most dynamic central roles in all of musical theatre, Rose - GYPSY.
Here She Is, Boys
While it may actually be titled GYPSY, every musical theatre maven worth his or her mettle is acutely aware that the final bow and therefore the show itself really belongs to the mother of all stage mothers at the center of the story, Rose - and, especially in this case, the actress fortunate enough to be playing that part, as well. From originating star Ethel Merman in the premiere 1959 Broadway production of GYPSY directed by Jerome Robbins through to the various Broadway revivals directed by bookwriter Arthur Laurents - starring Angela Lansbury, Tyne Daly and Patti LuPone, respectively (Tony recipients for their performances, all) - as well as the turn-of-the-century Bernadette Peters revival directed by Academy Award- and Tony Award-winning director Sam Mendes - Rose is a peerless performance opportunity for a musical theatre actress capable of taking it on and making it soar, sparkle and shine like all of these women have made it do. After all, the incomparable Jule Styne/Stephen Sondheim score is positively packed with dramatically rich, melodic musical theatre mainstays - showstopper after showstopper. "Some People" to "Everything's Coming Up Roses" to "Together Wherever We Go" to "Let Me Entertain You" and the blistering eleven o'clock number, "Rose's Turn", and beyond even those, the score for GYPSY is - in a word - a masterpiece.
While each actress who has portrayed Rose in the major Broadway productions of GYPSY have brought their own brand of brassiness, panache and style to the character all her own, there is an unmistakable, indescribable magic that occurs when an appropriately-cast diva divines to do GYPSY. It's an art in itself.
Also, many would agree that GYPSY is an inherently theatrical experience - lest we forget, it was originally intended as a meta-vaudeville revue by Robbins - so it should come as no surprise that the real power and persuasive pull of the property only truly is revealed in a live performance of it - and, only then, with an actress who can assuredly handle playing Rose. It is "a musical fable", as it is so billed, and requires a storyteller. Both Broadway leading ladies to have taken it on this century have delivered sensational performances, no doubt - as the following clips evidence - maintaining the impossibly high standards set by the major stars who headlined the masterful musical last century, since its debut over fifty years ago.
Ethel Merman. Angela Lansbury. Tyne Daly. Bernadette Peters. Patti LuPone. Does it get any better than that? Not for us Broadway babies - not for us.
For us, all we really need is the diva.
So, now, let's take a look at some of the best GYPSY-related moments from Tony Awards gone by, from performances to acceptance speeches.
First up, see the creator of the role of Rose in the premiere production herself, the one and only Ethel Merman, interviewed by the woman whose story GYPSY itself is based upon, Gypsy Rose Lee, in this priceless vintage video clip from circa 1960, when the new musical had recently just opened on Broadway.
Next, witness the first actress to essay Rose on Broadway after Merman, the simply phenomenal Angela Lansbury. Watch her wow the crowd with a spirited GYPSY selection at the 1989 Tonys.
See Lansbury receive her Tony Award for Best Actress In A Musical for her Rose in 1975 - the first Arthur Laurents revival (as well as three of her other Tony wins in this clip montage).
View the sexy commercial for the 1989 revival of GYPSY starring Tyne Daly, also directed by Arthur Laurents.
Of course, Daly went home with the Best Actress In A Musical Tony Award that year. Get a glimpse of her fierce Rose in this clip.
The next Broadway Rose starred in a revival directed by acclaimed film and theatre director Sam Mendes - the divine Bernadette Peters. View her riveting "Rose's Turn" below.
Take in the most recent Broadway Rose, the incomparable Patti LuPone, who won a 2008 Tony Award for her portrayal.
Last, see LuPone accept her more than merely well-earned Tony Award for Best Actress In A Musical for GYPSY.
As a special bonus, enjoy Ethel Merman recreating her incredible "Everything's Coming Up Roses" on a TV special in 1985.
So, which Rose is your absolute favorite of all? What production of GYPSY moved you most out of the ones you have been lucky enough to attend? Furthermore, who would you like to see play the pivotal part in the next revival of GYPSY? Certainly, one of Broadway's best musicals will be revived again sometime very soon - and, most likely, with a diva capable of carrying it off in the grandest of possible manners like all of these tremendous dynamos.