"Mama Rose's Turn: The True Story of America's Most Notorious Stage Mother" Published Nov. 1

By Adam Hetrick
01 Nov 2013

Cover art
Cover art

"Mama Rose's Turn: The True Story of America's Most Notorious Stage Mother," a new book by Carolyn Quinn that seeks to uncover the truth behind the woman Arthur Laurents described as a "pioneer woman without a frontier," is released Nov. 1 from University Press of Mississippi.

The 368-page hardcover book dedicated to the life of Rose Thompson Hovick promises "the rest of the story behind the legends of the colorful woman who led a troupe of performing children on a tour of the country's theatres during the days of 1920's Jazz Age Vaudeville and 1930's Burlesque."

The life of Hovick and her daughters June Havoc and Gypsy Rose Lee were famously adapted into the classic musical Gypsy by Laurents. The stage production used Lee's book, "Gypsy: Memoirs of America's Most Celebrated Stripper," as its basis. Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim penned the score for the musical that originally starred Ethel Merman.

According to the author of "Mama Rose's Turn," the book will uncover "the show business saga you think you already know – but you ain't seen nothin' yet. Rose Thompson Hovick, mother of June Havoc and Gypsy Rose Lee, went down in theatrical history as 'The Stage Mother from Hell' after her immortalization on Broadway in Gypsy: A Musical Fable. Yet the musical was 75 percent fictionalized by playwright Arthur Laurents and condensed for the stage. Rose's full story is even more striking."



"Mama Rose's Turn: The True Story of America's Most Notorious Stage Mother" marks Quinn's debut publication. She is co-editor of The Ziegfeld Times for The Ziegfeld Society.

Quinn will also discuss the book at the Upper East Side Barnes and Noble Nov. 1 at 7 PM.