Previewed 28 March 2015, Opened 15 April 2015, Closed 28 November 2015 at the Savoy Theatre in London
A major revival of the Stephen Sondheim and Jule Styne musical Gypsy in London starring Imelda Staunton - transferring to the West End for a strictly limited season following a sold out run at the Chichester Festival Theatre in 2014.
'Momma' Rose Hovick has big plans for her two little daughters June and Louise. 'Baby June' is the innocent star of her vaudeville show that tours the shabby stages of far-flung American towns, but 'Baby' June is growing up and when she dramatically quits her mother's show, Rose pushes Louise to the front. But now the innocent cheesey family acts of vaudeville are slowly giving away to riskier attractions of burlesque with audiences now expecting to see much more of their stars than ever before... and Louise has spent a lifetime in her sisterís shadow and doesnít match her motherís ambition, or fit into the tired old routine. "You'll be swell, you'll be great, I can tell - just you wait! That lucky star I talk about is due! Honey, everything's coming up roses for me and for you!" Often described as being one of the greatest ever Broadway musicals, the show is based on the true life memoirs of legendary burlesque entertainer, Gypsy Rose Lee. Features the songs Let Me Entertain You, Rose's Turn and Everything's Coming Up Roses.
The cast for this revival features Imelda Staunton as 'Rose' and Lara Pulver as 'Gypsy Rose Louise' - who both reprise their roles from the Chichester Festival Theatre run - they are joined for this West End staging by Peter Davison as 'Herbie'. This production is directed by Jonathan Kent with choreography by Stephen Mear, designs by Anthony Ward, lighting by Mark Henderson and sound by Paul Groothuis. Featuring book by Arthur Laurents, suggested by the memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee, with music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. This production transfers from the Chichester Festival Theatre where it played from October to November 2014. Stephen Sondheim's West End credits include Sunday in the Park with George, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, Sweeney Todd, A Little Night Music, Merrily We Roll Along and Into the Woods, Pacific Overtures, Saturday Night, West Side Story and the compilation Side by Side by Sondheim. Jule Styne's West End credits include Some Like It Hot and Funny Girl.
When this production opeend at London's Savoy Theatre in April 2015, Dominic Maxwell in the Times hailed it as being a "stunning revival of one of the greatest Broadway musicals," adding that "Jonathan Kent's perfectly pitched production is worth the 40-year wait. It triumphed in Chichester in October, but if anything the Savoyís smaller stage and gilded proscenium arch better suits a story that subverts yet celebrates the dying vaudeville circuit in 1930s America." Fiona Mountford in the London Evening Standard noted that "good as everyone else is in Jonathan Kent's polished production, this is Imelda Staunton's show. She's a force to be reckoned with, blazing through every scene with her belter of a voice and charisma to burn... they might as well start carving Staunton's name on all the awards statuettes now." Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph praised "Jonathan Kent's thrilling account of this Broadway classic [that] offers the unrepeatable chance to witness Imelda Staunton give one of the performances of her career as the manically driven Rose." Sarah Hemming in the Finanacial Times highlighted how "Imelda Staunton's outstanding, exquisitely pitched performance [is] at the heart of Jonathan Kentís superb revival," concluding that this was yet "another cracking transfer from Chichester." Michael Billington in the Guardian thought that "Jonathan Kentís production of this fabulous musical has got even better since its Chichester debut last autumn" with Imelda Staunton giving "one of the greatest performances I've ever seen in musical theatre."
This is the first West End revival since 1973. Orignally staged on Broadway in 1959 starring Ethel Merman as 'Rose' and made into a film in 1962 with Rosalind Russell as 'Rose' and Natalie Wood as Louise', this musical was not seen in London until May 1973 when it opened at the Piccadilly Theatre starring Angela Lansbury as 'Rose' in a production which then transferred to Broadway. The musical has been revival a number of times on Broadway: in 1989 starring Tyne Daly; in 2003 starring Bernadette Peters; and, most recently, in 2008 starring Patti LuPone. In addition Bette Midler starred in the 1993 television version.
Imelda Staunton's recent West End theatre credits include David Lindsay-Abaire's new comic play Good People (Noel Coward Theatre 2014) and playing 'Mrs Lovett' in the Stephen Sondheim musical Sweeney Todd opposite Michael Ball in the title role (Adelphi Theatre 2012) - both also directed by Jonathan Kent. Other London credits include Joe Orton's comedy Entertaining Mr Sloane (Trafalgar Studios 2009), Michael Hastings' play Calico (Duke of York's Theatre 2004) and the Stephen Sondheim's musical Into the Woods (Phoenix Theatre 1990). Peter Davison's West End credits include Arthur Miller's The Last Yankee (Duke of York's Theatre 1993). Jonathan Kent's other West End directing credits also include Toby Stephens and Anna Chancellor in Noel Coward's Private Lives (Gielgud Theatre 2013), Eileen Atkins and David Haig in Edward Bond's The Sea (Haymarket Theatre 2008), Ruthie Henshall in the new musical Marguerite (Haymarket Theatre 2008), David Haig, Patricia Hodge and Toby Stephens in William Wycherley's The Country Wife (Haymarket Theatre 2007) and Kristin Scott Thomas and Bob Hoskins in Luigi Pirandello's As You Desire Me (Playhouse Theatre 2005).
"Musicals don't get meatier or mightier than Gypsy. It's the triumphant collaboration of three of the greatest music men ever. Arthur Laurents's gripping narrative could stand on its own as a play; it comes with Jule Styne's music and Stephen Sondheim's lyrics, which bring with them more drama... Tiny Imelda Staunton gave a towering performance in Jonathan Kent's revival in Chichester last year. She now brings a more disturbing desperation and intensity to the transfer at the Savoy, the first London production since Angela Lansbury's success 40 years ago... Stephen Mear's choreography dazzles, especially when the tots transmute into kidults within one number and, hilariously, a trio of burlesque dancers demonstrate You Gotta Get A Gimmick... And finally, spectacularly, Lara Pulver's Louise metamorphoses into the exquisitely elegant, million-dollar Gypsy Rose Lee, more a glamorous teaser than a vulgar stripper. Staunton is in jaw-dropping, barn-storming, heart-breaking, show-stopping, award-winning form, commanding standing ovations. This is must-see musical magnificence." The Mail on Sunday
"Itís becoming predictable. Just when you think Imelda Staunton has delivered the definitive achievement of her career, she tops it. She sweeps along this production of the classic 1959 Styne and Sondheim musical about a smother-mother, the treacherous flip side of showbiz dreams and the American can-do spirit, on a tidal surge of talent... Lara Pulver brings a slinky, caressing wit to her turn as the daughter who becomes something to behold, despite and because of her pushy parent. She and Staunton keep steering Jonathan Kentís high-gloss production away from corniness. The challenge in playing Momma Rose is to make a steamroller interesting and remotely appealing. Diminutive yet engulfing, and heroically dogged, Stauntonís Momma is full of inflections you didnít see coming." The Sunday Times
"Although based on the memoirs of the stripper, Gypsy Rose Lee, the musical focuses on Mama Rose, the showbusiness mother from hell, who, after battling to make her younger daughter a headliner in vaudeville, has to swallow her pride when her neglected elder daughter becomes a star in burlesque. Imelda Staunton is magnificent, squeezing every ounce of wit, truth and pathos from the part, while not skimping on the Joan Crawford flamboyance. Her most daring touch is to undercut the triumphalism of Everythingís Coming Up Roses with a hint of hysteria. She is expertly supported by Lara Pulver and Kevin Whately in Jonathan Kentís pitch-perfect production." The Sunday Express
The musical Gypsy in London at the Savoy Theatre previewed from 28 March 2015, opened on 15 April 2015 and closed on 28 November 2015.