The late 1950s was one hell of a time for American musicals, with the likes of West Side Story, My Fair Lady, The Sound Of Music and Gypsy all debuting on Broadway. While all of them have been held up by different people as the greatest musical ever, most agree that the best female mainstream musical role ever written is Rose in Gypsy – indeed, it’s sometimes referred to as the King Lear of musical theatre. Over the years Ethel Merman, Angela Lansbury, Tyne Daly, Bernadette Peters, and Patti LuPone have all played the role on Broadway, while Rosalind Russell appeared in the 1962 film version, and Bette Midler took the part in a 1993 TV movie.
In 2015 it was the turn of Imelda Staunton, fresh from her fabulous, Olivier Award-winning turn in a West End version of Sweeney Todd (before that, few people thought of her as a musical actress, but she’s actually got a long history in the genre, from Into The Woods (for which she won another Olivier back in 1991) to Guys & Dolls. Staunton got rave reviews and another Olivier Award for Gypsy’s limited run at London’s Savoy Theatre, and as this recording of the production proves, it’s easy to see why. [Read more…]