It was a long long time ago that I first saw the TV version of Gypsy, with Bette Midler in the role of Rose. Sure I had seen the movie version too. But no one plays Momma like Bette.
With the tenacity that only Bette can convey on screen Gypsy came alive.
Finally the soundtrack has become available on iTunes store, and being the happy little show-tunes boys we are, we snapped it up.
The story of real life burlesque performer Gypsy Rose Lee, “Gypsy” is the story of… well I suppose that’s the thing… is the story about Gypsy or her mother Rose? Either way it shows the rise of Gypsy Rose Lee from her meek beginnings under the shadow of her sister, June.
If the story is to be believed in its entirety, the girls were virtually forced into performing as a way of making money for their mother who had divorced their father previously. Rose was a true Stage Mother. Living out her dreams through her children.
When June married at 16 and left the show, Mother was left with with Louise (Gypsy) who’s talent was all that impressive on her own. It was Louise’s idea to move into burlesque and perform striptease, with an emphasis on the tease.
She is famous for her choreography and witty banter during her striptease performances which hadn’t been seen before. Previous performers generally stripped and left… Gypsy’s hook was to tease them and leave them wanting more, but never giving it to them. I think there is something in that for all of us.
Louise wrote several books in her later years, two of them murder mystery novels, a play and of course her memoirs “Gypsy” which became the basis for the musical.