Her Turn: Gypsy, Starring Patti LuPone, Opens on Broadway

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27 Mar 2008

<I>Gypsy</I> stars Laura Benanti, Patti LuPone and Boyd Gaines
Gypsy stars Laura Benanti, Patti LuPone and Boyd Gaines
Paul Kolnik

The new Broadway revival of Gypsy — directed by its librettist, Arthur Laurents, and starring Tony and Olivier Award winner Patti LuPone in one of the choicest roles in musical theatre, the indomitable stage mother Rose — opens at the St. James Theatre March 27.

Following a critically acclaimed limited engagement at City Center in summer 2007, the classic American musical Gypsy — starring LuPone, Boyd Gaines and Laura Benanti — began previews at Broadway's St. James March 3.

LuPone heads the cast as that stage mother of all stage mothers with three-time Tony winner Boyd Gaines as the beleaguered Herbie and two-time Tony nominee Laura Benanti as the wallflower-turned-world-famous-stripper Gypsy Rose Lee.

LuPone recently spoke to Playbill.com about her co-stars. "Just trust in each other, trust in the director, trust in the material and then you can leave everything alone," LuPone said. "Laura and I have great trust with each other." Benanti returned the compliment: "Patti is one of — maybe the most generous person I've ever worked with. She's so smart and so committed and so kind and generous onstage and funny! Everything is a positive — everything is from a positive place. She's just an amazing person, and watching her is truly a master class in acting."

About her Herbie, recent Pygmalion star Gaines, LuPone added, "I am just so crazy about Boyd. My performance wouldn't be my performance without him. Or Laura. You're not alone out there. . . If there is another actor onstage that can support, transport you, illuminate, there's nothing like it. That is the ecstasy and the joy of theatre for me. I am blessed with two and then followed by an entire company of really focused [actors]."



LuPone, Gaines and Benanti are joined onstage by Leigh Ann Larkin as Dainty June, Tony Yazbeck as Tulsa, Marilyn Caskey as Electra, Alison Fraser as Tessie, and Lenora Nemetz as Mazeppa with Bill Bateman as Mr. Goldstone, Jim Bracchitta as Uncle Jocko, Sami Gayle as Baby June, Bill Raymond as Pop, Brian Reddy as Weber and Emma Rowley as Baby Louise.

The company includes Andrew Boyer, Dorothy Stanley, Beckley Andrews, Nancy Renée Braun, Mindy Dougherty, Kyrian Friedenberg, Matt Gibson, Sarah Marie Hicks, Steve Konopelski, Matthew Lobenhofer, Nicole Mangi, Katie Micha, Matty Price, Andy Richardson, Lisa Rohinsky, Jessica Rush, Alicia Sable, John Scacchetti, Geo Seery, Rider Quentin Stanton and Pearce Wegener.

Gypsy features scenic design by James Youmans, costumes by Tony Award winner Martin Pakledinaz, lighting by Tony Award winner Howell Binkley, hair by Tony Award winner Paul Huntley and sound design by Dan Moses Schreier.

Gypsy is being produced on Broadway by Roger Berlind, The Routh - Frankel - Baruch - Viertel Group, Roy Furman, Debra Black, Ted Hartley, Roger Horchow, David Ian, Scott Rudin and Jack Viertel

The Encores! Summer Stars production of Gypsy played New York City Center July 9-29, 2007. It opened July 14.

Gypsy features a score by Jule Styne (music) and Stephen Sondheim (lyrics) and a book by Laurents. The musical bowed on Broadway in May 1959 at the Broadway Theatre, playing 702 performances before closing at the Imperial Theatre, where it later transferred, on March 25, 1961. Ethel Merman created the role of Rose in the original production; subsequent Broadway Roses include Angela Lansbury, Tyne Daly and Bernadette Peters (as well as Linda Lavin, who took over for Daly). Merman and Peters were Tony-nominated for their performances; Lansbury and Daly won the coveted award.

A Tony Award winner for her work in Evita, LuPone also earned an Olivier Award for her performances in the West End productions of Les Misérables and The Cradle Will Rock. Her other theatrical credits include Sunset Boulevard, Anything Goes, Oliver!, Working, The Old Neighborhood, Master Class and Pal Joey. LuPone also headlined two solo Broadway concerts, Patti LuPone On Broadway and Matters of the Heart, and received glowing notices for her performance as Mrs. Lovett in the Lincoln Center concert version of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd and a Tony nomination for her performance in the recent revival of that Sondheim work. She was seen in the Kennedy Center's staging of Marc Blitzstein's Regina and recently joined Audra McDonald for Los Angeles Opera's production of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht's Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny. She was also seen as Rose in a Ravinia Festival concert run of Gypsy. Her screen and recording credits are numerous.

Laura Benanti was most recently on Broadway in The Wedding Singer. She played Claudia in the Tony-winning revival of Maury Yeston's Nine, and she received Tony Award nominations for her performances in Swing! and the revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods. She was also seen in The Sound of Music, Time and Again and the City Center Encores! mounting of Wonderful Town. Benanti's regional credits include roles in A Little Night Music, Man of La Mancha and A Winter's Tale.

Boyd Gaines was most recently on Broadway in the revival of Pygmalion. He won Tony Awards for his performances in The Heidi Chronicles, She Loves Me and Contact and was Tony-nominated for his work in Journey's End. His other Broadway credits include Twelve Angry Men, Cabaret, Company and The Show Off.

Gypsy plays Monday-Saturday at 8 PM and Wednesday and Saturday at 2 PM. Beginning March 31, show times will be Tuesday-Saturday at 8 PM with matinees Wednesday and Saturday at 2 PM and Sunday at 3 PM. (There will be no performance Friday, March 28; a matinee has been added on Sunday, March 30).

The St. James Theatre is located in Manhattan at 246 West 44th Street. Tickets, priced $42-$117, are available by calling (212) 239-6200 or by visiting www.telecharge.com.