Tuesday, October 22, 2013

MT Soundtracker: Day 22

Gypsy: A Musical Fable (1959)

Original Broadway Cast Recording

Music: Jule Styne
Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim

Synopsis: Based loosely on the memoirs of the striptease artist, Gypsy Rose Lee, the musical focuses on her mother, Rose, who is trying to raise her two daughters into show business; one of them a talented extrovert and the other shy, always secondary to her sister.

Gypsy is one of only three musicals Stephen Sondheim has written lyrics but not the music for (the most famous one being West Side Story). I realised this was the third musical of my project composed by Jule Styne also (after Bells Are Ringing and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes). 
Two songs from Gypsy, Let Me Entertain You (which is a reoccurring musical theme in the show and is effectively used to enhance the sense of character development) and Together Wherever We Go were familiar to me from the pantomime I took part in in January. They are catchy tunes as well as Some People. Rose's Turn is also a famous track. Because of the show business centered plot line, many of the songs are "big" and one can imagine them as stereotypical stagey numbers. The main part of Rose in particular is highly demanding due to the heavily belt-orientated songs. Like the two other Jule Styne musicals I have already explored, this one also contains some great female solos. 

Since the original Broadway production, there have been four revivals of Gypsy on Broadway alone. The part of Rose has been played by several notable actresses; this particular recording features Ethel Merman in the role. In the original West End production in 1973, Rose was played by Angela Lansbury and she won a Tony for her portrayal. 
A successful film version of Gypsy was made in 1962 and another one, for television, was released in 1993.

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