Gypsy

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Gypsy

Arthur Laurents, Jule Styne, Stephen Sondheim, Gypsy Rose Lee

Full Length Musical, Dramatic Comedy  /  6f, 2m

Book by Arthur Laurents / Music by Jule Styne / Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim / Suggested by the memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee / Original production by David Merrick & Leland Hayward / Entire production originally directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins

The Mother of All Musicals! The jewel of Broadway's Golden Age, Gypsy boasts an incomparable score, a brilliantly conceived book, and one of the greatest leading roles every to grace the Broadway stage.

Photo: Joan Marcus

Gypsy
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OVERVIEW

  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    6f, 2m
  • Duration
    Duration
    More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre
    Subgenre
    Biography
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    • Adult
    • Senior
    • Children (Age 6 - 10)
    • Pre-Teen (Age 11 - 13)
    • Teen (Age 14 - 18)
Accolades
Accolades
  • Winner! 1975 Tony Award for Best Actress
    Winner! Two 1975 Theatre World Awards (Zan Charisse and John Sheridan)
    Winner! Two 1990 Tony Awards, for Revival and Actress
    Winner! Two 1990 Drama Desk Awards, for Revival and Actress
    Winner! Two 1990 Outer Critics Circle Awards, for Revival and Actress
    Winner! Two 1990 Theatre World Awards (John Lambert and Crista Moore)
    Winner! 2003 Theatre World Award (Tammy Blanchard)
    Winner! Three 2008 Tony Awards
    Winner! Three 2008 Drama Desk Awards,
    Winner! Two 2008 Outer Critics Circle Awards
Description

Regarded by many theatre professionals as the finest musical ever created, Gypsy is the ultimate tale of an ambitious stage mother fighting for her daughters' success - while secretly yearning for her own. Set all across America in the 1920s and 30s, when vaudeville was dying and burlesque was born, Arthur Laurents' landmark show explores the world of two-bit show business with brass, humor, heart, and sophistication.

The celebrated score by Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim boasts one glorious hit after another, including: "Everything's Coming Up Roses," "Let Me Entertain You," "Some People," "You'll Never Get Away from Me," "If Momma Was Married," "All I Need Is the Girl," "You Gotta Get A Gimmick," "Small World," and "Together Wherever We Go."

History
Gypsy opened at the Broadway Theatre on May 21, 1959, starring Ethel Merman as Rose and Sandra Church as Louise. Later moving to the Imperial Theatre, the show played for a total of 702 performances. In London, Gypsy played for 300 performances at the Piccadilly Theatre, starring Angela Lansbury as Rose. This extremely successful show has been revived on Broadway no less than four times: starring Angela Lansbury in 1974, Tyne Daly in 1989, Bernadette Peters in 2003, and Patti LuPone in 2008. A 2015 revival at the Savoy Theatre in London starred Imelda Staunton.

Act I

After a rousing Overture, the show opens at a vaudeville theatre in Seattle. Sisters Baby June and Baby Louise are auditioning for Uncle Jocko’s variety act (“Let Me Entertain You”) but they’re interrupted by an offstage voice yelling, “Sing out, Louise!” Rose Hovick, the girls’ overbearing stage mother, enters and tries to intimidate Uncle Jocko into hiring them. When the girls lose out to a balloon-adorned tap dancer, Rose bursts the girl’s balloons and drags her daughters back home. Rose asks her father for some money to create a newer, much bigger vaudeville act. When her father refuses, Rose storms out, stealing his gold plaque to finance a trip to Los Angeles (“Some People”).

In L.A., Rose meets mild-mannered Herbie, whom she flirtatiously entices to manage the girls’ act (“Small World”). With Herbie’s help, Rose creates a new act starring June, supported by shy Louise and a group of dancing boys (“Baby June and Her Newsboys”). As the act tours the small-time circuit, the girls gradually get older, but their act never changes. One night, as Rose and all the kids crowd into a cheap hotel room to celebrate Louise’s birthday, Herbie introduces Rose to Mr. Goldstone of the more reputable Orpheum Circuit. Rose, invigorated by the opportunity, feverishly caters to her guest (“Have An Eggroll, Mr. Goldstone”). Louise, feeling forgotten, privately celebrates her birthday with her pet lamb (“Little Lamb”).

The act, reworked as “Dainty June and Her Farmboys,” continues to tour. In a Chinese restaurant in New York, Herbie proposes marriage to Rose, but she is more focused on show business. Herbie threatens to leave them someday, but Rose laughs it off, telling him, “You’ll Never Get Away From Me.” A powerful producer offers June a contract, provided she goes to school, takes acting lessons, and keeps her mother far away. But Rose adamantly refuses the contract, and the girls despair at her behavior, dreaming of a normal life (“If Momma Was Married”).

The act continues to tour, but June and the boys have grown too old. One boy, Tulsa, confides in Louise that he plans to branch out on his own (“All I Need Is The Girl”). Louise is smitten, but she soon finds a note from June saying June and Tulsa have run off together. Rose is stunned by the betrayal. Herbie suggests they give up show business and get married, but she refuses. With sudden intensity, Rose turns her focus on Louise, insisting that Louise, not June, is the key to their success (“Everything’s Coming Up Roses”).

Act II

Months later, little has changed. Rose leads a miserable rehearsal of “Madame Rose’s Toreadorables,” which is really a reworking of the old act, with girls replacing the boys and Louise replacing June -- complete with blonde wig. Exasperated, Louise rips off the wig and tells Rose she’s not her sister. Rose reassures her, and along with Herbie, they sing “Together Wherever We Go”.

Herbie gets the new act, now dubbed “Rose Louise and Her Hollywood Blondes,” a two-week booking. When they arrive at the venue, they quickly realise it’s a burlesque house, and Rose refuses to let Louise perform. Louise, recognising that they’re broke and need the money, convinces Rose to relent. The three broken-down strippers sharing Louise’s dressing room tell her “You Gotta Get a Gimmick.”

Louise performs her usual act, and Rose finally agrees to marry Herbie when the contract is over. As they pack to leave, the theatre manager announces that the star attraction has been arrested for soliciting, and Rose immediately responds, “My daughter can do it!” Rose, manic with ambition, begins planning costumes and music for Louise’s new act. Herbie, disgusted and fed up, quietly leaves her. Despite Louise’s stage fright, Rose forces her onto the stage. Louise begins a shy rendition of “Let Me Entertain You,” but she gradually gains confidence and her simple act evolves into into a full strip routine. Over time, reserved Louise transforms herself into a burlesque superstar, the glamorous and confident Gypsy Rose Lee.

In Louise’s dressing room at Minsky’s in New York, the starlet entertains reporters and photographers. Rose, realising she’s no longer needed, storms out of the dressing room, embittered and hurt. Alone on an empty stage, Rose asks, “Why did I do it? What did it get me?” and she finally lets her ambition loose, belting out a huge number of her own (“Rose’s Turn”). As Rose bows to an empty house, Louise applauds and says, “You really would have been something, Mother.” They reconcile, and Rose starts telling Louise about her new “dream.” As mother and daughter exit together, Rose takes one last look behind her at the runway lights, but they quickly darken and the curtain falls.

Considerations

Performing Groups
  • High School/Secondary
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Dinner Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Senior Theatre
  • Large Stage
  • Youth/Camp Programs
Cautions
  • Mild Adult Themes

Licence details

  • Licensing fees and rental materials quoted upon application.

Specifics

Details

  • Time Period: 1930s, 1920s
  • Duration: More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Additional Features: Animal spot
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes

Setting:

The action of the play covers a period from the early 1920s to the early 1930s, in various cities throughout the USA.

Specific Locations:
Vaudeville theatre stage, Kitchen, Backstage, Hotel rooms, Chinese restaurant, Stage of Grantziger’s Palace, Mr. Grantziger’s office, Theatre alley, Railroad platform, Desert country, Louise’s dressing room, Bare stage

Casting

6f, 2m
Cast Attributes
  • Roles for Teens
  • Roles for Children
  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)

Principals
(6 female; 2 male)

Rose — the Mother
June — Rose’s daughter
Louise — Rose’s other daughter, later Gypsy, the stripper
Tessie Tura — ballet stripper
Mazeppa — trumpet stripper
Electra — lightbulb stripper

Herbie — candy salesman and Rose’s manager
Tulsa — farm boy, etc. (with others)

Supporting

Uncle Jocko — vaudeville master of ceremonies
Georgie — Jocko’s assistant
Balloon Girl — auditioning child; non-speaking
Clarinet Boy (Clarence) — auditioning child
Baby June — Rose’s baby daughter
Baby Louise — Rose’s other baby daughter
Pop — Rose’s father
Rich Man — driver of a touring car; non-speaking
Rich Man’s Son — driver’s son; non-speaking
Tap Dancing Urchin — roadside kid; non-speaking
Little Boy Scout — another roadside kid; non-speaking
Weber — theatre manager in Los Angeles
L.A. — farm boy, etc. (with others)
Yonkers — farm boy, etc. (with others)
Angie — farm boy, etc. (with others)
Kringelein — hotel manager in Akron
Mr. Goldstone — representative of the Orpheum Circuit
Miss Cratchitt — secretary at Grantziger’s Palace
Agnes — Hollywood Blonde
Marjorie May — Hollywood Blonde
Dolores — Hollywood Blonde
Thelma — Hollywood Blonde; non-speaking
Gail — Hollywood Blonde; non-speaking
Cigar — theatre manager in Wichita
Pastey — stage manager in Wichita
Offstage Announcer — introducing Gypsy across the country
Renée — Louise’s maid
Phil — Louise’s press agent
Bourgeron-Cochon — photographer

Others

Auditioning Kids & their Mothers
Boy Scouts
Hotel Guests
Restaurant Wait Staff
Front & Rear Cow
Stagehands at Grantziger’s and in Wichita
Other Strippers
Backstage Figures & Showgirls

The original Broadway production had a cast of 44 performers. The show has no dedicated chorus. Some doubling was employed in the minor parts.

Music

  • Musical Style: Classic Broadway
  • Dance Requirements: Moderate
  • Vocal Demands: Difficult
  • Orchestra Size: Large
  • Chorus Size: Large

Act I

1. Overture – Orchestra
2. Rose’s Entrance: “Let Me Entertain You” – Baby June & Baby Louise
2a. Scene Change: Let Me Entertain You – Orchestra
3. “Some People” – Rose
4. Seattle To Los Angeles—Reprise: “Some People” – Rose & Boy Scouts
4a. Scene Change: Some People – Orchestra
5. “Small World” – Rose & Herbie
6. “Baby June And Her Newsboys” – Newsboys
6a. Let Me Entertain You” – Baby June
6b. Incidental: Let Me Entertain You – Orchestra
6c. Recitation And Military Routine – Orchestra
6d. The Scene Continues: Let Me Entertain You – Orchestra
6e. Military Routine (Part II) – Orchestra
6f. Change of Scene – Orchestra
7. “Mr. Goldstone” – Rose, Herbie, & Kids
8. “Little Lamb” – Louise
8a. Change of Scene – Orchestra
9. “You’ll Never Get Away From Me” – Rose & Herbie
9a. Scene Change: You’ll Never Get Away From Me – Orchestra
10. “Farm Sequence” – June, Farm Boys, & Cow
10a. “Broadway” – June & Boys
10b. Scene Change: Some People – Orchestra
11. “If Momma Was Married” – June & Louise
11a. Scene Change: Montage – Orchestra
12. “All I Need Is The Girl” – Tulsa
12a. All I Need Is The Girl (Dance) – Orchestra
12b. Scene Change: Montage – Orchestra
13. “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” – Rose

Act II

14. Entr’acte – Orchestra
15. “Toreadorables” – Girls
15a. Stars and Stripes – Orchestra
16. “Together Wherever We Go” – Rose, Herbie, & Louise
16a. Encore: “Together Wherever We Go” – Rose, Herbie, & Louise
17. “You Gotta Get A Gimmick” – Mazeppa, Electra, & Tessie
17a. Scene Change: You’ll Never Get Away From Me – Orchestra
18. Incidental: Act Two, Scene Four – Orchestra
18a. Reprise: Small World – Orchestra
18b. Incidental: The Scene Continues – Orchestra
19. “Gypsy Strip Routine” – Louise & Showgirls
19a. Scene change: Let Me Entertain You – Orchestra
20. Incidental – Orchestra
21. Rose’s Turn” – Rose & Orchestra Members
22. Curtain Music – Orchestra
22a. Curtain Calls – Orchestra
23. Exit Music – Orchestra

Full Orchestration
(*indicates optional Reed instrument)

Reed 1: Flute, Piccolo, Clarinet & Alto Saxophone
Reed 2: Flute*, Piccolo*, Clarinet & Alto Saxophone
Reed 3: Flute*, Piccolo*, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet*, Tenor Saxophone & Bass Saxophone*
Reed 4: Oboe*, English Horn*, Clarinet & Tenor Saxophone
Reed 5: Clarinet, Bass Clarinet*, Bassoon* & Baritone Saxophone

Horn
Trumpets 1 & 2
Trumpet 3
Trombone 1
Trombone 2
Trombone 3 (Bass Trombone)

Harp

Percussion 1 & 2:
Timpani (2 Drums)
Snare Drum (Brushes & Sticks)
Bass Drum
Tom Tom
Suspended Cymbal (Soft & Hard Mallets)
Hand Cymbals
Hi-Hat Cymbals
Tam Tam
Xylophone
Vibraphone
Glockenspiel
Slapstick
Castanets
Temple Blocks
Slide Whistle
Bird Whistle
Train Whistle
Cow Bell
Wood Block
Chimes
Maracas

Piano/Celeste (Piano/Conductor’s Score)

Violin A
Violin B
Viola
Cello
Bass

Materials

Scripts

Rehearsal Resources

Music Material Rental Packages Glyphs / UI / Tooltip

Full Package:
1 Piano/Conductor Score
35 Libretto/Vocal Books
1 Reed 1
1 Reed 2
1 Reed 3
1 Reed 4
1 Reed 5
1 Horn
2 Trumpet 1&2
1 Trumpet 3
1 Trombone 1
1 Trombone 2
1 Trombone 3
2 Percussion 1&2
1 Harp
2 Violin A
1 Violin B
1 Viola
1 Cello
1 Bass

Piano Only:
1 Piano/Conductor
35 Libretto/Vocal book

Optional Performance Tracks:
Performance Tracks are available through MT Pit at an additional fee. Interested licensees should reach out to MT Pit directly to secure Performance Tracks.

Additional Resources And Services Available

Media

Press

"The quintessential American musical." - Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter

"I've always had only one choice in the category of favorite musical. It is Gypsy...a wrenching fable about a tyrannical stage mother and the daughters she both champions and cripples - yet also a showcase for one classic Jule Styne/Stephen Sondheim song and rousing Jerome Robbins vaudeville routine after another." - Frank Rich, The New York Times

"Styne’s score [is] one of the best for any show ever" - Ben Brantley, The New York Times

"Fabulous...a testament to the power of the integrated musical in that the book by Arthur Laurents, the music by Jule Styne and the lyrics by Stephen Sondheim are all partners in a genuine coalition." - Michael Billington, The Guardian

"Gypsy, the 1959 fable of the last days of vaudeville, shines with a magnified transparency that lets you see right down to the naked core of characters so hungry for attention that it warps them." - Ben Brantley, The New York Times

"With its backstage shenanigans, dark-tinged striver's success story, and characters perpetually on the road, Gypsy is arguably, in thematic terms, the quintessential American musical." - Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter

Music Samples

Videos

  • Gypsy - Savoy Theatre

  • "Everything's Coming Up Roses"

  • "Rose's Turn" - Bernadette Peters

  • Gypsy - 2008 Tony Awards

More videos +

Photos

  • Gypsy

    Credit: Joan Marcus

  • Gypsy

    Credit: Joan Marcus

  • Gypsy

    Credit: Joan Marcus

  • Gypsy

    Credit: Joan Marcus

More

Authors

Arthur Laurents

Arthur Laurents (1917-2011) was the author of musical plays such as West Side Story, Gypsy, Anyone Can Whistle, Do I Hear A Waltz?, Hallelujah Baby! (1967 Tony Award For Best Musical) and Nick & Nora; and the screenplays The Snake Pit, Rope, Caught, Anastasia, Bonjour Tristesse, The Way We ...

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Jule Styne

Jule Styne (1905-1994) made Broadway sing for 50 years with shows including High Button Shoes; Gentlemen Prefer Blondes; Hazel Flagg; Gypsy; Peter Pan; Bells Are Ringing; Do Re Mi; Subways Are For Sleeping; Funny Girl; Fade Out-Fade In; Hallelujah, Baby!; The Red Shoes; and Darling of the Day. His ...

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Stephen Sondheim

Stephen Sondheim wrote the music and lyrics for Saturday Night (1954), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962), Anyone Can Whistle (1964), Company (1970), Follies (1971), A Little Night Music (1973), The Frogs (1974), Pacific Overtures< ...

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Author

Gypsy Rose Lee

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