Gypsy tells the story of the American burlesque stripper Gypsy Rose Lee. Her ambitious stage mother, Mama Rose (LuPone), is determined that her two daughters will become stars and so she sets out to find fame and fortune for them. The 1959 Broadway musical has a book by Laurents, music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Jerome Robbins originally directed and choreographed the musical, which features songs such as “Everything’s Coming Up Roses”, “Rose’s Turn” and “Some People”.
The now 91-year-old Laurents originally directed the New York City Centre Encores! production in 2007 in an attempt to right the perceived wrongs committed by Sam Mendes’ panned 2003 Broadway revival starring Bernadette Peters (See The Goss, 14 Aug 2007). Laurents’ acclaimed revival subsequently transferred to Broadway itself, playing at the St James Theatre from March 2008 to January 2009 and winning three Tony Awards, included Best Actress in a Musical for Patti LuPone.
Back in 2008, West End producer David Ian said he was keeping “a close eye on what’s shaking up and what’s shaking down” to find the best home, one of the West End’s bigger musical houses, for the massive production, which has a 30-strong cast and a 27-strong orchestra.