Cher Public

Small and funny and fine

The already legendary performance of that role of roles Madame Rose by the ineffable Imelda Staunton may now be seen on YouTube (right after the jump, in fact!)  

  • messa di voce

    They cut the trumpet lick from the overture!

  • steveac10

    They cut more than the trumpet lick -- they ripped the overture to shreds (including those wonderfully soupy mid-century strings that balance the brass of it all). It’s my favorite Broadway overture -- so not off to a good start for me.

  • armerjacquino

    Just to pre-empt the next quibble: Staunton sings the whole thing down a third.

    The whole show is brilliant, though, so I hope these things can be overlooked.

  • Edward George

    They’ve cut the overture for the TV presentation. You can hear the full overture as it was played in the theatre here httpv://

  • steveac10

    I wish I could see it in a theater. I love her take on Rose as largely bat shit crazy (which the real Rose undoubtedly was), but under the glare of the HD cameras and closeups it came of as manic and mannered.

    I loved the seedy feel of the production as well and felt only the burlesque scenes and Gypsy’s montage of increasing fame missed the mark (perhaps because the rest of the show had a seedy feel already and there was nowhere to go). The strippers had a great jaded quality, but missed the naughty fun built into those scenes, and the montage went nowhere. Minsky’s seemed as drab and laconic as Wichita.

    My only real objection to the production is the orchestrations. Axing the strings leaves the book numbers feeling drab and tinny, and leaves the brass nothing to vault out from in the showstoppers. Sometimes it sounded disturbingly like a marching band at half time playing a Gypsy medley.

    • Krunoslav

      After 40 years or so of cross-oceanic theatergoing, I’d say most British directors and designers get the nuances of “Americana” as wrong as most American designers get “British” history, class, accent, etc.

      I think the Parisians are currently getting a very odd introduction to many “American ” musicals

  • manou

    Well Imelda Staunton has just been awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) in the New Year Honours List.

    Sian Phillips is now a Dame.

  • danpatter

    What a treat, since I’m guessing the long-bruited Streisand version won’t happen. Staunton has some wonderful moments. The transpositions don’t bother me, and I think they make sense. Merman’s voice was unique.

    • steveac10

      I hope the Streisand version doesn’t happen, although I find Streisand’s rumored choice for Louise of Lady Gaga an intriguing prospect.

      In close up, Staunton was straining credulity as the mother of a couple of tweens (although it probably is not as notable live). Streisand is in her mid seventies. I’m all for suspending disbelief, but on film that’s a bridge too far. I, for one, would love to see a take on Rose by an actress who is actually in her 30’s.

      • danpatter

        Now that I’ve finished watching the whole thing, I have to say, WOW! Tremendous show, very moving too. I liked that the strippers looked like bottom-of-the-barrel strippers rather than well-toned athletes. Strippers int he depression weren’t all so glamorous as the few famous ones.

        You can pick nits in any show, of course, but I’m so grateful to have a chance to see this, even second-hand. I’ve seen GYPSY live a number of times over the years and Staunton’s performance ranks with the best I’ve seen. (No, I didn’t see Merman).

        • PushedUpMezzo

          The whole show is just gorgeous. And special congrats for squeezing so much onto the rather tiny Savoy stage. Now is Imelda Mary Philomena Bernadette Staunton, OBE the only star to have played Dorothy Gale, Miss Adelaide, the Baker’s Wife, Mrs Lovett and Mama Rose? Can’t quite picture Ethel in the blue gingham with Toto. A safe, happy and tres, tres gai New Year to all the dear Parterriat.

          • SF Guy

          • Gualtier M

            Ethel never played Dorothy Gale but she did play Mombi, the Wicked Witch of the North in “Journey Back to Oz” with Rise Stevens voicing Glinda.


            I personally saw Imelda Staunton live do Lucy Lockit in “The Beggar’s Opera” and Sonia in “Uncle Vanya” on the London stage. Imagine Ethel in those parts!

            • SF Guy

        • steveac10

          ” I liked that the strippers looked like bottom-of-the-barrel strippers rather than well-toned athletes. Strippers int he depression weren’t all so glamorous as the few famous ones.”

          Except Gypsy Rose Lee was well established by the time the depression hit in all of its force -- vaudeville was declining in the late 20’s but burlesque was at it’s bawdy peak. Anyway, it wasn’t the decrepitude of the strippers in this production that felt wrong to me -- it was their utter lack of humor. The strippers(and Agnes/Amanda) are the only things that keep the second act post “Wherever We Go” from becoming a rather dreary soap opera. To me Roses turn is far more shattering when the strippers entertain us and Louise’s rise to fame enthralls us. Roses collapse is far more moving when we’ve spent the previous half hour laughing and oohing at the spectacle of the Minsky’s extravaganza. I felt this production robbed us of that contrast.

      • I’ve seen the movie with Roz, and live perfs with Tyne Daley, Linda Lavin (she was marvelous), and a soap star in DC. But the best, I think, of all of them is Bette MIdler.

  • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin

    Kind of makes Elaine Stritch sound like Julie London.

    • grimoaldo

      I have no idea if that is supposed to be good or bad,haha.
      Happy New Year everyone!

  • stignanispawn

    Was lucky to see this production in London last May and thrilled that it was preserved. While I’m about a day and a half to young to have seen Merman, Staunton’s performance is equal to that of Angela Lansbury over 40 years ago.