The first preview of Gypsy at City Center was hot. HOT.
I journeyed to Chicago last summer to see Patti LuPone take on Mama Rose in the three night Ravinia production. Of course, it was entertaining, it's Gypsy. Duh. I daresay that Gypsy itself is such a perfect composition in book and music that it's hardly possible to put on a bad production. By the third night of that production, Patti finally began to penetrate that force field of Mama Rose but we didn't know that it could be like it was last night. Oh sure, I've seen Patti more than any other actress - twenty one times in the revival of Sweeney Todd, once in concert, twice in Sondheim benefits, and three times at Ravinia and I thought I knew what she's capable of, but she has now outdone her very best. She was fiercer, angrier, funnier, brassier, sassier, and sexier than her fiercest, angriest, funniest, brassiest, sassiest, and sexiest self. Supported by a wonderful cast, especially Laura Benanti as Gypsy Rose Lee, Patti managed to bring down the house. The audience couldn't help itself at the end of Rose's Turn and jumped to it's feet in show stopping, thunderous admiration. I think she has brought all the Roses of yesteryear into this Rose. She's just everything I want in a Mama Rose. And you know I've thought about this. This Gypsy is so hot, that by July 29th, it may spontaneously combust. If not the production, then certainly Patti will.
No evening at the theatre is complete without a trip to the stage door and quite large crowd felt the same way last night. Patti didn't grace us with her appearance - perhaps she did combust - but legendary director and book writer Arthur Laurents took a break from his usually crotchety and mean self and signed playbills. One of my favorite points of the evening was when I looked down our aisle and saw Noah talking to him. Of course.