Sunday, July 06, 2008

Whatever Happened to Babies June and Louise?

Here we are in the fifth revival of Gypsy. Whatever happend to the child actors who played Babies June and Louise? It must have been beyond thrilling and frightening at once to be waiting on stage for the inimitable actress playing Momma Rose. Imagine the poise called for by these children in order to stand there in character and wait out the inevitable entrance applause after those famous lines "Sing out, Louise!" are called out and Rose takes the stage.

Original Cast - 1959
Baby Louise - Karen Moore
Baby June - Jacqueline Mayro

Understudies -
Baby June - Ivy Ellen
Baby Louise - Jody Lane

Replacements -
Baby June - Jan Tanzy
Baby Louise - Alice Playten

Alice Playten has done a lot of television and theatre. She performed this year at the Theatre World Awards. She won her Theatre World Award and a Tony nomination in 1968 for her portrayal of Kafritz in Henry, Sweet Henry. If you've met Alice, you know that she's petite but she has a giant Merman belt. Her "Nobody Steps on Kafritz" loops in my playlist constantly. She performed "Poor Little Person" on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1967 and the video survives.

First Revival - 1974
Baby June - Bonnie Langford
Baby Louise - Lisa Peluso

Bonnie Langford is always busy, both on television and in British theatre. She's had a fairly extensive West End career and tours as well.

Baby June, Baby Louise - Donna Elio

1989 Revival
Baby June - Christen Tassin
Baby Louise - Kristen Mahon

Baby June, Baby Louise - Jeana Haege

Baby June - Susan Cremin

2003 Revival
Baby June - Heather Tepe
Baby Louise - Addison Timlin

Baby June - Alexandra Stevens
Baby Louise - Molly Grant Kallins

2008 Revival
Baby June - Sami Gayle
Baby Louise - Emma Rowley

Baby June, Baby Louise - Katie Micha (performed the role of Baby June on opening night)

So, really only Alice Playten and Bonnie Langford have had a fairly busy show business careers. Will the current Babies have a Broadway career? Recognize any of the others? Let us know!


Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

This is great stuff, Sarah.

Of course, after rewatching the original film version, I'm still astounded that actress Morgan Brittany, best known for "Dallas" but first known as Suzanne Cupito, was Baby June, while Ann Jillian (then spelled "Jilliann") was Dainty June.

Alas, pity Diane Pace, who portrayed Baby Louise, can only count "Gypsy" as her one and only film credit (and she doesn't have any on Broadway).

Meanwhile, actress June Havoc will turn 95 this November.

Sarah B. Roberts said...

True, true about the original movie of Gypsy.

June hasn't worked on film since around 1990 with some appearances on General Hospital. And of course, she was on two episodes of Murder, She Wrote before that - a six degrees of separation to Angela Lansbury that I adore.

In the 1993 tv movie of Gypsy, Lacey Chabert was Baby June. She's always working. She was even the singing voice of Young Anastasia in the animated Anastasia - yet another six degrees to Angela. Elizabeth Moss was Baby Louise. She's equally busy.

Sarah B. Roberts said...

PS Morgan Brittany was in a couple of episodes of Murder, She Wrote too.

Bob said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Bonnie Langford's had a long and distinguished career on the stage (and occasionally television) in the UK, and counts Gypsy co-star Angela Lansbury as one of her heroes. :)

Hula Hank said...

Dear Sarah,

Love it. Interesting timing as I am in the middle of writing about the different Mama Roses. I have been able to find a NY Times review for all of them, with the exception of the fabulous Angela Lansbury... (or even any review for that matter).

Back to the subject at hand, I remember listening to a Bernadette Peters concert where she states that she was the understudy for Baby June, but lied on her resume and said that she played Baby June.

She apologised to the girl who did play Baby June and said her name was Susie. But she said "Susie" with some contempt.

Again, getting back on task, I don't know any of the Baby Junes or Louises. That is what we were talking about right???

Sarah B. Roberts said...

Bob, Bonnie Walker is the reproduction choreographer in the current production. She reproduced Jerome Robbins' choreography previously in both Angela's and Tyne's productions as well as the '93 Bette movie. Alden, Thanks for letting us know about Bonnie Langford. I'll have to google her. Hula Hank, let us know when your Mama Rose piece is done. Keep searching for those Angela reviews because they are out there.

Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Sarah, I love the whole six degrees aspect. Of course, through you, we're all much less than six degrees from Patti and Bernadette and Angela...

Sibyl said...

Lisa Peluso had a pretty major soap opera career, of the leading actress/diva variety. Not quite Susan Lucci/Deidre Hall huge, but still significant. And it frightens me that I know that.

Bob said...

Damn, I made that comment, and immediately realized I got my Bonnie's mixed up and deleted my comment. Bonnie Walker also understudied all the strippers in the Lansbury revival.

Anonymous said...

Addison and Heather are only 17 and 15 years old. They may do things yet. I think Addison still persues acting stuff in New York.
Heather I think moved to another state?

I always like to think that the child actors that don't make it as adult actors in theater have gone on to do whatever it is they really love to do in life.

Anonymous said...

Hula Hank, the Susie that Bernadette Peters referred to in her joking comments at the Carnegie Hall concert was Susie Martin who played Dainty June in the 1961 second national tour, where Peters understudied the part and played Hawaiian Girl. Susie Martin went on to play Lois in the 1963 off-Broadway revival of Best Foot Forward which launched Liza Minnelli. She's only present on the cast album as part of the ensemble in the "Buckle Down, Winsocki" number & reprise. Don't know what happened to her after that. She apparently left the business. I'm surprised you thought Bernadette said her name with contempt. I didn't take it that way at all.

Anonymous said...

Since today is Bernadette's 65th birthday, I couldn't help but think about her "Susie" remark at Carnegie Hall. I took it as a bit of a humorous slight to "Susie" because Bernadette asks, "What was her name?" & someone yells, "Susie" -- with no last name. "Susie," Bernadette agrees, her memory refreshed. The audience laughs. I think the humor derives from the fact that Bernadette achieved Superstar status & "Susie" didn't. Perhaps Bernadette is a clever diva who knows how to make a concert lighthearted? I think it worked!