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Subject: Re: Gypsy Obsession
From: Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 15 Nov 2016 23:11:23 -0500
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The best thing, ultimately, about the Midler TV version is that it *is* a production of Gypsy 
- meaning, it's actually the score and script that Styne, Sondheim, Laurents, and their 
other collaborators wrote. And of all the made-for-TV musicals produced by the 
disappointingly inconsistent team of Zadan and Meron (they also did the Chicago film), 
Gypsy is the only one that has that distinction of being the actual property. No added 
songs, no new lyrics, no "new and unimproved" book, no new orchestrations or 
arrangements, no futzing with the sequence of the script. Just Gypsy as it works best. 

In addition, whether one *loves* Midler or not, she's far far far from terrible IMO - and the 
rest of the cast is also quite good. Again, not any of the other Zadan/Meron films can boast 
a consistently well-rounded cast. Matthew Broderick as a phoned-in Harold Hill? A tired 
Carol Burnett unceremoniously plunked in the middle of the most unfunny rendition of 
Once Upon A Mattress possible? An impossibly stiff (if decent sounding) Carrie Underwood 
joining with an impossibly stiff (if decent sounding) cast in a lifeless Sound of Music? 
Christopher Walken actually forgetting his lines in the weirdest and most off-mark  
attempt at Captain Hook I've ever seen? 

I'll take Midler's Rose over all that, any day. ;-) (And certainly over Staunton as well, 
IMO.)

But as I said - the real value of the Midler film is that they just simply trusted the material. 
And for me, that's plenty going for it. 


On Tue, 15 Nov 2016 20:00:00 -0500, Stephen Charitan <[log in to unmask]> 
wrote:

>Don,
>
>Perhaps you and I interpret the language of the realm differently, but the
>general consensus on the posted site (which I agree with) is that Midler
>was - at best simply adequate, a pencil  (dare I say crayon?) sketch as
>opposed to an oil painting.  I have both the Midler and Staunton on DVD and
>- Hallelujah! - Staunton's is the version I will return to when I want
>to approach "definitive" in this encyclopedic role.
>
>I for one don't regret Merman's not doing "the movie."  The voice as voice
>was a Tsunami, but in close up as an actress she was a flat liner -her
>movie career is proof of this.  In the diffuse book of "Anything Goes" the
>Mama Rose sort of dramatic specificity might have been irrelevant, but in a
>"Music Drama" like "Gypsy" it is exactly the point.  Subsequent Rose's like
>Lansbury, LuPone, and Staunton have revealed aspects of Rose beyond "The
>Merm's" comprehension.  Midler, at best is an "also ran..."
>
>Steve
>
>On Tue, Nov 15, 2016 at 5:05 PM, donald kane <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>> Thanks Steve; isn't it great the way one link leads to
>> another?   I can now reaffirm what I said about Bette
>> Midler in GYPSY:  she's the only one who can be even
>> remotely compared to the sublime original of Ethel
>> Merman.  I was beginning to fear that the '93 TV version
>> was lost for good, but there it is, complete, on Youtube,
>> showing up everything that's wrong with the recent tacky
>> English effort.
>>
>> Hallelujah!
>>
>> dtmk
>>
>>
>> On Tue, Nov 15, 2016 at 3:31 PM, Stephen Charitan <[log in to unmask]>
>> wrote:
>>
>>> If you are as obsessed with this show as I am, here are a few interesting
>>> internet sights comparing performances and recordings.
>>>
>>> The first compares recordings:
>>>
>>> http://www.sondheim.com/commentary/track4.html
>>>
>>> The second performances:
>>>
>>> https://www.datalounge.com/thread/10457391-gypsy-1962-v.-gypsy-1993-
>>>
>>> They are both written pre Peters / pre LuPone / pre Staunton, but
>>> enjoyable
>>> if you are a fanatic.
>>>
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>>
>
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