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Papa Rose?

lightsarebrightonbroadway
Understudy
joined:8/22/18
Understudy | Joined: 8/22/18
Papa Rose?#1
Posted: 10/27/20 at 4:57pm

After rewatching Billy Porter's performance of Everything's Come up Roses at the Tony Awards, I started to think whether or not Gypsy could work with a male lead in the role of Rose. 


Thoughts? And if so, who would you love to see take a crack at this?

Broadway61004
Broadway Star
joined:4/14/11
Broadway Star | Joined: 4/14/11
Papa Rose?#2
Posted: 10/27/20 at 5:00pm

If this was about a fictional person?  Maybe.  Given it's a real-life woman we're portraying?  No.  Absolutely no.

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Anshel2
Broadway Star
joined:8/22/12
Broadway Star | Joined: 8/22/12
Papa Rose?#3
Posted: 10/27/20 at 5:09pm

Broadway61004 said: "If this was about a fictional person? Maybe. Given it's a real-life woman we're portraying? No. Absolutely no."

It's a musical fable, of course you can.  It would be harder to justify the gender swap for Gypsy Rose Lee, but the parent, no issue.

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BroadwayNYC2
Broadway Legend
joined:6/16/13
Broadway Legend | Joined: 6/16/13
Papa Rose?#4
Posted: 10/27/20 at 5:11pm
At this point, it’s a character. With the right casting (can’t think of any at the moment), I have no issues
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VotePeron
Broadway Legend
joined:5/2/13
Broadway Legend | Joined: 5/2/13
Papa Rose?#5
Posted: 10/27/20 at 5:39pm

Broadway61004 said: "If this was about a fictional person? Maybe. Given it's a real-life woman we're portraying? No. Absolutely no."

Damn, wait until you hear about Hamilton...

Frumious Bandersnatch Profile Photo
Frumious Bandersnatch
Understudy
joined:5/13/12
Understudy | Joined: 5/13/12
Papa Rose?#6
Posted: 10/27/20 at 6:41pm
Curious to hear that the gender swap for Louise would be “harder to justify.” The cute, blonde, charismatic daughter gets all the attention. Why wouldn’t a sullen, ignored son make sense (assuming, of course, we’re exploring the “musical fable” aspect of the piece, as opposed to strict historical interpretation)?
"When you start looking at your watch--as I do at other people's shows--you know you're in trouble." -Hal Prince
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henrikegerman
Broadway Legend
joined:4/29/05
Broadway Legend | Joined: 4/29/05
Papa Rose?#7
Posted: 10/27/20 at 10:12pm

Frumious Bandersnatch said: "Curious to hear that the gender swap for Louise would be “harder to justify.” The cute, blonde, charismatic daughter gets all the attention. Why wouldn’t a sullen, ignored son make sense (assuming, of course, we’re exploring the “musical fable” aspect of the piece, as opposed to strict historical interpretation)?"

A sullen, ignored son who becomes a celebrity stripper in the 1930s?  
 

Ravenclaw
Featured Actor
joined:9/16/17
Featured Actor | Joined: 9/16/17
Papa Rose?#8
Posted: 10/28/20 at 5:28am

Because there are just too many great roles for women of a certain age and not enough roles for men?

And what would the text gain? It seems like an experiment that wouldn't pay off in any kind of storytelling sense. In Company, when Bobby became Bobbi, themes in the show resonated differently, as a woman's experience being told she needs to settle down and get married before she becomes too old is different from that of a man in our culture, and the text was able to explore the themes in a new way. With a domineering Stage Father who puts all his hopes and dreams onto his children because he was "born too soon and started too late"? I don't know what this major change would do for the show, other than allow Billy Porter to belt out some classic tunes, and if that's all you want, you might be better served just hearing him sing them in a solo concert.

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blaxx
Broadway Legend
joined:6/28/05
Broadway Legend | Joined: 6/28/05
Papa Rose?#9
Posted: 10/28/20 at 5:33am

I think it would be more interesting if Porter was to play Rose as a woman / as written; that would bring a different perspective to the show.

Listen, I don't take my clothes off for anyone, even if it is "artistic". - JANICE
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Marway44
Broadway Star
joined:6/7/05
Broadway Star | Joined: 6/7/05
Papa Rose?#10
Posted: 10/28/20 at 8:08am
Of course you could do it. I saw a Mrs. Mushnik, so there is no reason it wouldn't work. While I wasn't thrilled, being I like my shows the way were meant to be performed, it did work. It was just different.
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Anshel2
Broadway Star
joined:8/22/12
Broadway Star | Joined: 8/22/12
Papa Rose?#11
Posted: 10/28/20 at 10:23am

Frumious Bandersnatch said: "Curious to hear that the gender swap for Louise would be “harder to justify.” The cute, blonde, charismatic daughter gets all the attention. Why wouldn’t a sullen, ignored son make sense (assuming, of course, we’re exploring the “musical fable” aspect of the piece, as opposed to strict historical interpretation)?"

It becomes more complicated if you gender bend Louise/Gypsy.  First off, she is based on a real celebrity.  Mama wasn't,  Second, female stripping was an art form, not so for male strippers.  Would we have "Louis" become a Chippendale dancer?

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Jordan Catalano
Broadway Legend
joined:10/9/05
Broadway Legend | Joined: 10/9/05
Papa Rose?#12
Posted: 10/28/20 at 10:57am
As long as the strippers are Matt Bomer, Channing Tatum and Joe Manganiello. Otherwise the whole thing just seems like an unnecessary “gimmick”.
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TheGingerBreadMan
Broadway Legend
joined:12/7/12
Broadway Legend | Joined: 12/7/12
Papa Rose?#13
Posted: 10/28/20 at 11:17am

I'd 100% be interested in seeing this. I can't think a man besides Porter who I think could really pull it off, but he'd be phenomenal. I don't think it would necessarily add anything to the show contextually, but I don't think it needs to. It would be an interesting take with a very talented performer.

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Anshel2
Broadway Star
joined:8/22/12
Broadway Star | Joined: 8/22/12
Papa Rose?#14
Posted: 10/28/20 at 11:21am

Jordan Catalano said: "As long as the strippers are Matt Bomer, Channing Tatum and Joe Manganiello. Otherwise the whole thing just seems like an unnecessary “gimmick”."

Well, you gotta have a gimmick.

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JBroadway
Broadway Legend
joined:4/6/12
Broadway Legend | Joined: 4/6/12
Papa Rose?#15
Posted: 10/28/20 at 11:23am

Ravenclaw said: "Because there are just too many great roles for women of a certain ageand not enough roles for men?

And what would the text gain? It seems like an experiment that wouldn't pay off in any kind of storytelling sense. In Company, when Bobby became Bobbi, themes in the show resonated differently, as a woman's experience being told she needs to settle down and get married before she becomes too old is different from that of a man in our culture, and the text was able to explore the themes in a new way. With a domineering Stage Father who puts all his hopes and dreams onto his children because he was "born too soon and started too late"? I don't know what this major change would do for the show, other than allow Billy Porter to belt out some classic tunes, and if that's all you want, you might be better served just hearing him sing them in a solo concert.
"

 

All of these are good points. I definitely agree that "what would the text gain" is the primary question that the director would have to answer in the prep process, probably in conversation with the actor. But I think there very well might be a satisfying answer out there - as long as they do that work. 

Personally, I think the most intuitive way of playing it would be to keep June and Louise as women, and play with the idea that "Papa Rose" is a closeted gay man living in an era that won't let him be himself, so he uses his daughters to enact a kind of performative femininity that he is denied. But that's just off the top of my head - again, the nuances of that lens would be worked out during prep/rehearsal. 

As for the question of taking away a role from a woman, I would say that's worthy of concern, but it depends on the context. If this were to be done on Broadway, I might agree that it would be potentially unfair to take away this major, potentially career-defining gig away from a female actor in place of a man. But I think if this were done at a major LORT theatre, or for a limited run at an Off-Broadway house, not much is lost by casting a man in a single production of Gypsy. There have been many productions of Gypsy, and there will be many more productions of Gypsy, so doing a single production experimental with a man ultimately won't cause much harm. Unless it catches on to a degree that everyone starts casting the role with men, in which case I do think that will be problematic. 

And as for the "she was a real person" argument - please. This is theatre! Stuff like this is done all the time, and it really doesn't matter. Unless it perpetuates a massive misconception (e.g everyone starts thinking the real Rose Havok was actually a man), but that's highly unlikely. 

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SweetLips22
Broadway Star
joined:7/1/18
Broadway Star | Joined: 7/1/18
Papa Rose?#16
Posted: 11/1/20 at 4:57pm

Are there any tales of well know 'stage fathers'. Is there a masculine equivalent of the dreaded female stereotype?

FindingNamo
Broadway Legend
joined:7/22/03
Broadway Legend | Joined: 7/22/03
Papa Rose?#17
Posted: 11/1/20 at 5:11pm

The dads on documentaries about little pageant girls never seem to be Kinsey Zeroes, if you get my meaning

 

If he's a closeted gay dad, Michael Cerveris would be a perfect Papa Rose.

If he's an out gay dad, the role is Harvey Fierstein's.

If they're a trans parent, they should be played by Kate Bornstein as Moppa Rose.

 

Can you hear me now? Twit: @NamoInExile
Updated On: 11/1/20 at 05:11 PM
fosterfan2
Stand-by
joined:8/7/11
Stand-by | Joined: 8/7/11
Papa Rose?#18
Posted: 11/1/20 at 5:28pm

SweetLips22 said: "Are there any tales of well know 'stage fathers'. Is there a masculine equivalent of the dreaded female stereotype?"

I would say both Michael Jackson's and Macauley Culkin's fathers. Google them;they were the worst stage fathers I can think of.

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darquegk
Broadway Legend
joined:2/5/09
Broadway Legend | Joined: 2/5/09
Papa Rose?#19
Posted: 11/1/20 at 5:31pm
Murray Wilson, father of The Beach Boys, was a legendary nightmare of an abusive and controlling stage dad.
AEA AGMA SM
Broadway Legend
joined:8/13/09
Broadway Legend | Joined: 8/13/09
Papa Rose?#20
Posted: 11/1/20 at 11:00pm

The behavior of Thora Birch's father during the rehearsal period and tech for that Off-Broadway revival of Dracula some years back was cited by the director as the reason for her firing from the production (and of course that just kicked off a string of bizarre incidents that lead to the show's very early closure).

https://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/12/14/actress-thora-birch-fired-from-dracula/

Did you know that every day Mexican gays cross our borders and unplug our brain-dead ladies?
LarryD2
Broadway Legend
joined:9/1/14
Broadway Legend | Joined: 9/1/14
Papa Rose?#21
Posted: 11/2/20 at 9:45am

I think the "stage mother" archetype is less important than the uniquely mother-daughter dynamic at the heart of the show. It wouldn't be the same with an opposite-sex parent.