When director Jerome Robbins described his new idea for a musical to Cole Porter, asking him to compose music for it, Porter graciously declined, claiming the musical would not be a success. Irving Berlin was next, and again, he too rejected the offer. Robbins' idea to make a musical about a dominating mother and a shy child who grows into a stripper was met by only skepticism. However, on his third try, he struck gold. Composer Jule Styne agreed to write the music for it, and recommended that Robbins hire Sondheim to write the lyrics. Styne and Sondheim worked brilliantly together, and created what is now considered one of the greatest musical scores ever written, specifically the overture. Through subtle musical and lyrical changes in the show's theme, "Let Me Entertain You," the two were able to convey growth and increasing confidence in Louise, the main child character, played by Sandra Church. Louise's mother, Mama Rose, was played by the great Ethel Merman, who added entire new dimensions to the role with her strong voice and powerful speech. "Gypsy" opened at The Broadway Theater on May 21st, 1959. Perhaps New Yorkers weren't quite ready for such a progressive musical, because after a mere 702 shows, "Gypsy" closed. However, "Gypsy" has been remade and reinterpreted many times since, and is now greatly appreciated and admired by music critics everywhere.
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If Momma Was Married
Gotta Have a Gimmick
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