Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Patti LuPone Amazes in Gypsy!

Yep, the reviews are thru the roof, as they should be. Patti LuPone, that master of New York City Broadway theater, absolutely nails it as Rose in City Center's production of Gypsy. Considered by many the classic American musical, Gypsy is the birthplace of beloved show tunes and follows the rags-to-burlesque-riches making of Gypsy Rose Lee.

I could go on and on about the tingle-inducing voice of LuPone and her amazingly human and heartbreaking characterization of a born-in-the-wrong-time, stage-mother-from-hell. At a time when the scandalous antics of youngsters Lindsey Lohan and Miss Britney have us outraged at parental apathy and fame fanaticism, this tale of the mother-made stripper Gypsy Rose Lee is timely and just a little scary. Even with Laura Benanti's empowered gal, Dita von Tease approach to the character, we still mourn the innocent little girl Louise that was.

But ultimately, this isn't about current day morality or celebrity or silly antics for the paparazzi. Through LuPone's performance, we get the heartbreak of a wanna-be artist stifled by society, motherhood and a mistrust of the conventional. Her climactic musical rant of regret against an unfair life delivers such a punch it had the uber-enthusiastic crowd on its feet. This production best go to Broadway, because to lose LuPone's performance into theatrical ether would be tragic.

4 comments:

Rick W said...

I Saw Angela Landsberry in Gypsy, I believe at the Winter Garden on Broadway, in the early 70s. Boy do I feel old. Great review. I will try and see this one.

Anonymous said...

I saw Ethel Merman in Gypsy in San Francisco maybe in 1956 or was it 1957. My first Broadway musical. Last weekend, I saw Patti LuPone in Gypsy at the St. James Theatre in NY. I enjoyed her, too. Patti was great, but the scenic design wasn't so hot. Except for the wonderful brassy orchestra. Roland Prijoles

Anonymous said...

I saw Gypsy at today's matinee and thought the direction was all off: too slow and literal. In so many scenes, the poor actors had little or no business; they stood around spouting lines.

Despite the sluggish direction, Patti LaPone was excellent in the musical numbers that she could control. Laura Barnatti was fine when she became Gypsy Rose; before that she was directed to be overly weak. And Boyd Gaines, well, he's just so blah and brings nothing to the role.

Mary Hilton said...

Wow - really? I saw the production at City Center and thought it was terrific. I can't believe it would have changed that much. It is directed in a retro way, to better represent it as a classic, tried-and-true American musical is my guess. But hey, everybody has their own opinion about musical theater, why should Gypsy be an exception?