New York will see Bernadette Peters sing "Rose's Turn" before London does.
After over a year of reports that the Sam Mendes production of Gypsy, starring Peters as Mama Rose, will debut in London and then transfer to Broadway, the order has been reversed. A spokesperson for Peters told Playbill On-Line Feb. 6 that the producers and star have decided that Gotham will be the first metropolis treated to the highly anticipated revival.
Rehearsals will begin in New York in January 2003. The production would happen later that spring, possibly in April, at a theatre yet to be named. Given a healthy Broadway run, one would imagine that, if Peters intends to be in the UK premiere, the London berth would occur at a considerably later date. The Royal National Theatre has been mentioned as a possible London home for the show.
Peters will play Mama Rose, the towering stage mother role created by Ethel Merman and since essayed by the likes of Angela Lansbury, Tyne Daly and Linda Lavin. The role routinely wins the actress playing it a Tony Award.
Peters has appeared in such Broadway musicals as Dames at Sea, Mack and Mabel, Sunday in the Park With George, Into the Woods, Song and Dance and Annie Get Your Gun. She won Tony Awards for the last two. Mendes is known on both sides of the Atlantic for his award-winning direction of David Hare's Blue Room and Kander and Ebb's Cabaret, as well as the Oscar-winning film "American Beauty." He recently announced that the upcoming season at the Donmar Warehouse—a theatre he has guided for ten years—will be his last.
Gypsy has received several high profile revivals since it first bowed in 1959, with Ethel Merman as Mama Rose. Angela Lansbury played the part on Broadway in 1974, followed by Tyne Daly in 1990. Betty Buckley starred in a production at the Paper Mill Playhouse in 1998.
Broadway legend Peters will lend her celebrated voice to the Rodgers and Hammerstein songbook on her next recording. The album, called simply "Bernadette Peters Loves Rodgers and Hammerstein," will be released in March 2002 on the Angel label.
Peters is more typically associated with modern composers rather than the shows of musical theatre's golden age. She is best known for her parts in Stephen Sondheim's Sunday in the Park with George and Into the Woods and won her first Tony Award for Andrew Lloyd Webber's Song and Dance. However, her most recent stage assignment was one of the classic roles in musical history: Annie Oakley in Irving Berlin's Annie Get Your Gun. The part won her a second Tony.
Jonathan Tunick does orchestrations and conducts on the new album.