Video: Stephen Sondheim Wouldn't Let Barbra Streisand Direct & Star in a GYPSY Movie

"I wanted to end my career with playing Gypsy," Streisand shared on Howard Stern's Sirius XM radio show today.

By: Nov. 08, 2023
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Video: Stephen Sondheim Wouldn't Let Barbra Streisand Direct & Star in a GYPSY Movie
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Barbra Streisand says that Stephen Sondheim would not let her direct and star in a Gypsy movie musical.

"I wanted to end my career with playing Gypsy," Streisand shared on Howard Stern's Sirius XM radio show today. "I wanted to direct it and I could see every frame and just be in it."

She began working with Sondheim, who wrote the lyrics for the musical, on the structure of the film adaptation, saying that she "adored" working with him on potential changes to the musical.

"That was a very creative time in my life with him, we were both so open to change things and make it new but his same songs but looking at them again and he was so open to change, it was incredible."

However, once it came to Streisand directing the film and starring as Mama Rose, the legendary musical theatre writer would not let her take on both roles.

"You either direct the movie, or you act in it. But you can't do both," she says Sondheim told her, stating that the role was "too difficult."

Although she had written "a synopsis of how every scene would work" in the movie, Streisand's dreaming of helming and starring in the film never came to fruition.

"There are things in life that you can't have. It was very sad for me," she concluded.

While looking to the future, Streisand has stated that she will never sing in public again and no longer wants to act in films either, saying that "it's too much of a pain in the ass to get your hair done, your makeup."

"I could direct another movie and I have one, but it's my fourth choice of a movie to direct. It's not the two I wanted to direct."

Streisand began working on film with Universal Studios in 2011. After years of development, it was briefly rumored that Lady Gaga and John Travolta would star in the film with her. The final update on the film came in 2016, when it lost its distributor and co-financier.

GYPSY is a musical with music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Sondheim, and a book by Arthur Laurents. GYPSY is loosely based on the 1957 memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee, the famous striptease artist, and focuses on her mother, Rose, whose name has become synonymous with "the ultimate show business mother." 

The musical contains many songs that became popular standards, including "Everything's Coming up Roses", "Together (Wherever We Go)", "Small World", "Some People", "Let Me Entertain You", "All I Need Is the Girl", and "Rose's Turn".

GYPSY was last seen on Broadway in a production that was first presented by Encores! from July 9 to 29, 2007 with Patti LuPone playing 'Rose', and direction by Arthur Laurents.

Watch the interview clip on Howard Stern's radio show below:

Several other clips from Streisand's interview on the Howard Stern Show were also released. In one, Streisand discussed her newfound love of Martin Scorsese movies and how she turned down starring roles in "Splash" and "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore."

On the topic of turning things, and people, down, Streisand talked all about the men who’ve fallen for her and how Marlon Brando propositioned her.

In another fun anecdote, Streisand revealed that James Brolin’s pillow talk inspired the Aerosmith hit “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.”

Streisand also dished all about her relationship with Judy Garland and her iconic duet on “The Judy Garland Show.”



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