Friday, April 25, 2008

Rose's (superstar) Turn

In front of the St. James theatre lastnight in Times Square, I noticed that across the street Phantom of the Opera is still playing. To sold out houses! The longest-running show in Broadway history. How did that happen? Who are those people in line to see it?

Do they have any idea what's going on across the street?

Something legendary is happening on Broadway right now: Gypsy, starring Patti Lupone. And it's not going to run forever.

The New York Times review so worshiped the production and its star that people are saying it was not just a review, it was a coronation. Indeed it was. Ben Brantley gushes "Patti LuPone has found her focus. And when Ms. LuPone is truly focused, she’s a laser, she incinerates."

Gypsy is based on the memoirs of striptease artist Gypsy Rose Lee. And it's all about her mother. This great American musical was created by composer Jules Styne, lyricist Stephen Sondheim, and with a book by Arthur Laurents (who directed this revival...at a whopping 91 years young).

And Patti Lupone? While I have no idea how she belts out her impeccable voice for this three hour show eight times a week, I mostly marvel how she endures all those emotions everyday, battling on as Momma Rose--the pugnacious, indefatigable theatre mother who was "born too soon and started to late."

".....If it weren't for me, just where would you be?....Miss Gypsy Rose Lee?"

Gypsy was created fifty years ago and they still talk about Ethel Merman, who originated the role. Fifty years from now, they'll still be talking about Patti Lupone. If you're in New York, if you can get to New York, theatre history is now incinerating.

And it's not a Phantom.

3 comments:

Michael said...

You're. KILLING. Me.

I need to get there.

Eddie said...

seeing it May 31st. CAN'T WAIT.

Love you, doll!

melissa said...

Jesse -- I remembered this post and had to come back to it and let you know that the girls and I saw it as part of my bachelorette weekend! It was so wonderful, loved this show.