Daddycatcher’s MUSICAL MONDAY: Ethel Merman, Angela Lansbury, Tyne Daly, Bette Midler, Bernadette Peters, and Patti LuPone in GYPSY

Mama Rose from Gypsy is, indisputably, the scariest character in the American musical theatre.  Yes, even scarier than Sweeney Todd!  She is also the most fascinating!  Often described as the musical theatre Hamlet, the role has been catnip for some of Broadway’s most illustrious leading ladies.

Based on the memoirs of famed stripper Gypsy Rose Lee, this Jule Styne / Stephen Sondheim musical fable lands at the number 7 spot on Daddycatcher’s Top 10 musicals of all time.

And it’s an extra loaded Musical Mondays post, because the list of Broadway divas who have tackled the role is unprecedented. The role was created by the legendary Ethel Merman in 1959; premiered on the West End in 1973 with Angela Lansbury (which was transferred to Broadway in 1974); was revived for a second time in 1989 starring Tyne Daly; the show returned again with Bernadette Peters in 2003: and most recently in 2008 with Patti LuPone.

Lansbury, Daly, and LuPone were each awarded the Tony Award for their performances.

Bette Midler‘s performance from the 1993 television adaptation is included here because that was Daddycatcher’s first encounter with Gypsy.


One Response to “Daddycatcher’s MUSICAL MONDAY: Ethel Merman, Angela Lansbury, Tyne Daly, Bette Midler, Bernadette Peters, and Patti LuPone in GYPSY”

  1. All of the above mentioned actresses did admirable jobs portraying Mama Rose, a difficult role, at best. However, IMHO, the only one who really “got” Mama Rose was Tyne Daly. Her performance of “Everything’s Coming up Roses” was done the way I’d always felt it should be: pissed off! Mama’s meal ticket had just walked out on her, she was left with no-talent Louise. She was scared, mad, and a little sad and thus “Roses”. It’s not a gleeful ditty, it’s almost a sarcastic lament in Tyne’s interpretation. I was rather surprised Patti Lupone didn’t choose to do it that way. Here’s hoping the next Mama Rose will break out of the box and really “get” Mama the way Tyne did.

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