Tuesday, July 10, 2007
URGENT: Music theatre fans should get tickets for the Encores production of Gypsy. Immediately. Don't even read the rest of this review, because there is nothing I could say that you aren't going to hear again and again over the course of the three week run, and beyond. You're going to hear that Patti Lupone is a sensation, the vital bulldozing force of nature that many of us have been waiting for in a Mama Rose. You'll hear that from the first moments of the overture, the score is brought to glorious goosebump-raising life by the full orchestra. You'll hear that this is, at last, a Gypsy in which everyone is bringing their best game and every moment works, even the ones you might think you are tired of. There'll be richly deserved praise for Boyd Gaines, the most substantive Herbie since Jonathan Hadary, and for Laura Benanti, the most convincing Louise I have ever seen. But praise is deserved top to bottom here: this is a dream Gypsy, in which great care and wisdom have been spent on putting across both the music and the story; I haven't seen the dynamics of the central characters' relationships made as clear ever before. A better Gypsy than this I don't expect to see in my lifetime. And yes, I know, that's a lot of praise for anything to live up to, but since you are buying tickets instead of reading this, you can find it all out for yourself.