Directed by Academy Award winner Sam Mendes, who triumphed with the long-running Cabaret revival, Gypsy began previews at the Shubert March 31. The Arthur Laurents-Jule Styne-Stephen Sondheim musical is the last musical revival to open this season, which officially ends May 7.
Peters, best known for her award-winning turns in Sunday in the Park with George, Song & Dance, Into the Woods and Annie Get Your Gun, is the latest actress to portray Rose, the indomitable stage mother created onstage by Ethel Merman in 1959 and also played to Tony winning effect by Angela Lansbury (1974) and Tyne Daly (1989). (For a look back at the original 1959 Playbill, visit the "Playbill Archives" feature on Gypsy.)
In a recent Playbill interview, Peters spoke about the infamous stage mother and said she believes Rose’s actions are the result of the deprivations in her life. “What’s pushing her,” said the actress, “is what she didn’t have in life: opportunity. Her mother deserted her—that’s a pretty devastating thing. I think that motivates her as well as [the desire] to give her children what she didn’t have. ‘I’m not going to let them sit away their lives like I did!’”
Produced by Robert Fox, Ron Kastner, Roger Marino, Michael Watt, Harvey Weinstein and WWLC, Gypsy features original choreography by Jerome Robbins and additional choreography by Jerry Mitchell. Jodi Moccia is the associate choreographer and Peter Lawrence the associate director.
Peters is joined onstage by Emmy winner Tammy Blanchard (Louise), John Dossett (Herbie), Kate Reinders (Dainty June), David Burtka (Tulsa), Heather Tepe (Baby June), Addison Timlin (Baby Louise), Heather Lee (Tessie Tura), Julie Halston (Miss Cratchit/Electra), Kate Buddeke (Mazeppa), Brooks Ashmanskas (Mr. Goldstone/Pastey), Michael McCormick (Uncle Jocko/Cigar) and William Parry (Pop/Mr. Kringelein). Coco — a six-month old phantom teacup poodle — will play the role of Chowsie, Rose’s beloved dog, and Maureen Moore, who stoodby for Peters during her run in Song & Dance, will also standby for the star in this production. The Gypsy company features Matt Bauer (Yonkers), Graham Bowen (Swing), Benjamin Brooks Cohen (Kansas), Macintyre Dixon (Phil/Mr. Weber), Joey Dudding (Farmboy/Georgie), Wally Dunn (Character Man), Brandon Espinoza (Farmboy), Tim Federle (Farmboy/Bougeron-Cochon), Eamon Foley (Newsboy), Jenna Gavigan (Hollywood Blonde), Sarah Jayne Jensen (Hollywood Blonde), Molly Kallins (Balloon Girl), Dontee Kiehn (Hollywood Blonde), Ginifer King (Hollywood Blonde), Julie Martell (Hollywood Blonde), Pamela Remler (Swing), Stephen Scarpulla (Newsboy), Chandra Schwartz (Agnes), Alexandra Stevens (Balloon Girl/Baby June u.s.), Cathy Trien (Maid) and Jordan Viscomi (Farmboy).
The creative team includes Anthony Ward (scenic-costume design), Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer (lighting design), Acme Sound Partners (sound design) and David Brian Brown (hair design). With orchestrations by Sid Ramin and Robert Ginzler and dance arrangements by John Kander, Gypsy features musical supervision by Patrick Vacariello and musical direction by Marvin Laird, the latter Peters' longtime musical director.
Gypsy plays Monday through Saturday evenings at 8 PM with matinees on Wednesday and Saturdays at 2 PM. Tickets, priced between $60 and $100, are available at the Shubert Theatre box office (225 West 44th Street) or through Telecharge at (212) 239-6200.
Bernadette Peters won Tony Awards for her performances in Song & Dance and Annie Get Your Gun, and she has also starred on Broadway in Mack & Mabel, On the Town, Sunday in the Park with George, The Goodbye Girl and the original production of Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods. Peters was recently inducted into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame where she sang selections from her newest CD, the Grammy-nominated "Bernadette Peters Loves Rodgers & Hammerstein." Her numerous screen credits include Emmy-nominated turns for "Ally McBeal" and "Bobbie's Girl," a Golden Globe-winning performance in "Pennies from Heaven" and roles in "The Jerk," "Silent Movie," "Bobbie's Girl," "Pink Cadillac" and "The Last Mile." She can also be seen in the Michael Douglas film "It Runs in the Family.”