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Subject: Re: Imelda Staunton in "Gypsy"
From: "Max D. Winter" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Max D. Winter
Date:Sun, 13 Nov 2016 23:03:07 -0500
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Ed Rosen wrote:

"I watched Gypsy on PBS and agree with Donald. Of course I was blessed in
having seen the original with Merman 3 times in 1959-60. It was like night
and day."

Well, I guess I will just be the minority opinion on this List re Staunton's Mama Rose.  

And no, I didn't see Ethel Merman in "Gypsy."  On the other hand, YOU never saw Jeritza 
and Lauri-Volpi, or Turner and Martinelli, in "Turandot," like I did.  If you had, you would 
have realized that Nilsson and Corelli were very small beer indeed.  (And if you doubt that I 
saw them, you should know that I have Elina Makropoulos' formula.  I also heard Caruso's 
Canio, Fremstad's Isolde, Tamagno's Otello, and Welitsch's Salome, in comparison to whom 
all others in those roles are a joke.)  

For the record (and for Donald Kane), I DID see Bette Middler (on TV 1993) as Rose, as well 
as (live) Tyne Daley (1989) and Bernadette Peters (2003).  (I did not see Patti Lupone, 
unfortunately.)  They were all great.  Staunton was, too. She is not as great a singer as 
those other ladies were/are, but she is a great actress, a riveting performer, and her singing 
was just fine.  She made the part work for her and she dominated the production, as any 
Mama Rose must.  I loved her harder-edged take on the character, whom I have always 
viewed as a kind of monster, albeit at the end a sympathetic, even pathetic, one.  Her voice 
was of a piece with her portrayal: hard-edged and, yes, shouty at times.  She made one 
very uneasy at the thought of having Rose as a mother.  That is a totally valid approach, 
although it certainly will not be to all tastes.    I repeat, it was a great performance.

MDW

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