PLAYBILL PICKS: A Dozen Actresses We'd Like to See Play Gypsy Rose Lee in the Barbra Streisand Gypsy

By Playbill Staff
March 29, 2012

With the news that Academy Award-winning screenwriter Julian Fellowes will pen the screen remake of Gypsy, the iconic showbiz musical by Arthur Laurents, Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim, for Barbra Streisand's Rose, the Playbill.com staff would like to suggest a few actresses we believe could play the role of Rose's daughter Louise, the part created on Broadway by Sandra Church and later on film by Natalie Wood.

Here, in no particular order, are a baker's dozen of the many multi-talented performers we think would score in the role of the young, insecure Louise, who eventually becomes the world-famous stripper Gypsy Rose Lee.



 Laura Benanti

 

 Laura Benanti was the last actress to play the famed stripper on Broadway and the first to win a Tony for her performance. With her gorgeous voice, wonderful comedic timing and sheer beauty, she'd make an excellent screen Gypsy. And, anyone who could hold her ground with Patti LuPone in the musical's penultimate scene deserves to preserve her stage performance on screen.  

 

 

 Tammy Blanchard

 

  Tammy Blanchard played Gypsy Rose Lee in the Bernadette Peters revival of  the musical and offered a touching performance as the stripper-in-the-making. Her dance with David Burtka's Tulsa was especially memorable for its utter sense of joy and abandon. The actress, who is currently featured in the Broadway revival of How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying, also boasts an Emmy Award for her portrayal of the young Judy Garland in "Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows."  

 

  Lea Michele

 The former Broadway baby and current "Glee" star has the looks and the talent as well as a formidable fan following -- she even won this year's People's Choice Award for her work on the megahit Fox series. And, she would undoubtedly belt out a thrilling "Let Me Entertain You."

  Anne Hathaway

 

   Anne Hathaway is currently filming the role of the ill-fated Fantine in the eagerly awaited film version of the international hit musical Les Miserables. The stunning actress can sing -- she demonstrated her vocal abilities on The Academy Awards and the recent Kennedy Center Honors tribute to Meryl Streep -- and we're sure she would offer a dramatic arc from the young Louise to the older, wiser Gypsy Rose Lee. 

 

 Scarlett Johansson

 

  We've never actually heard Scarlett Johansson sing, but she has so impressed us in an array of film roles, as well as in her Tony-winning Broadway debut, that we think she would make a formidable Gypsy Rose Lee, easily depicting both the young, insecure Louise and the adult, no-nonsense stripper.

 

 

 Sutton Foster

 

  After seeing her performances in Thoroughly Modern Millie, Shrek the Musical, Young Frankenstein and, most recently, Anything Goes, we're pretty sure Sutton Foster can play most any role. She would certainly nail all the laughs and sing the role with ease (we can almost hear her  plaintive version of "Little Lamb"), and we'd love for the rest of the country to enjoy the many talents of this stellar performer. Here She Is World, Here's Sutton!

 

 

 Megan Hilty

 Megan Hilty is currently proving the depths of her talent week after week in the new NBC musical series "Smash." Now that this voluptuous beauty has easily made the transition from Broadway to television, it would be great to see the former Wicked star make the leap to the silver screen.

 

 Katherine McPhee

 

  Like the aforementioned Hilty, this former "American Idol" finalist continues to impress with her soaring vocals. With the right director, we also believe McPhee could be a dazzling Gypsy Rose Lee.

 

 Laura Bell Bundy

 

 Perhaps it's because she first caught our attention in Off-Broadway's Ruthless that we think Laura Bell Bundy would bring an added dimension of the "bad girl" to her Louise. In Legally Blonde, Bundy proved her deft comedic timing, and we also still remember her wonderful work as Rose's other daughter, June, in the Betty Buckley Gypsy at the Paper Mill Playhouse.

 

 Vanessa Hudgens

 

 Vanessa Hudgens, who starred in the "High School Musical" films, certainly knows her way around a movie musical, and she even proved her stage mettle in the Hollywood Bowl production of Rent. The young actress also drew acclaim for her work in the film "Bandslam," and her debut album "V" went gold.


 

 Leslie Kritzer

 

   Leslie Kritzer may be a less obvious choice, but who could play Streisand's daughter more convincingly than this big-voiced funny gal? We know she could sing and act the role with dramatic flair, and we'd love to see the humor she would undoubtedly invest in the park.  

 

  Laura Osnes

 

  This delicate beauty is everywhere this season -- at the Kennedy Center Honors, in Broadway's Bonnie & Clyde, in the current City Center Encores! production of Pipe Dream and in the upcoming Carnegie Hall Sound of Music -- and she always manages to impress with her rangy, crystal-clear vocals. Osnes would certainly be a striking Gypsy, and we can almost hear her say, "I'm a pretty girl, Momma."  

 

  Sierra Boggess

 

  Sierra Boggess can sing with a soaring soprano, belt with finesse and move with a ballerina's grace -- and all while underwater -- so we think this former Little Mermaid and Love Never Dies star would be an ideal choice for Gypsy. Her performance in the recently televised anniversary concert of The Phantom of the Opera also demonstrated the actress has a luminous screen presence.