Thursday, July 24, 2008

Gypsy – A Musical Fable

Gypsy is a 1959 musical which starred Ethel Merman, Jack Klugman, Maria Karnilova, and Sandra Church in the title role.

Gypsy is based on the memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee, the famous striptease artist, and gives prime importance to her mother, Rose, who has become synonymous with "the ultimate show business mother". The character of Louise is based on Gypsy Rose Lee, and the character of June is based on her sister, the actress June Havoc.

The musical contains many popular songs like "Small World," "Everything's Coming up Roses", "You'll Never Get Away from Me," and "Let Me Entertain You." It’s one of the crowning achievements of the mid-20th century's "Book Musical".

Gypsy has been referred to as the greatest American musical by numerous critics and writers, even the hard to please Ben Brantley and Frank Rich who compared it to King Lear. Theater critic Clive Barnes description of the character of Rose is "one of the few truly complex characters in the American musical...."

Daytime soap actress Emily O Brien has played Louise in one of the later productions and considers it an honour to have been thought capable of playing such a complex role.

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