Tuesday, April 14, 2015
I've tried to avoid the classics on this blog unless I could find an interesting take on them. In this case I've decided to compare Gypsy and Funny Girl.
Arthur Laurent's libretto for Gypsy has been heavily analysed and highly praised. The show lived past Ethel Merman's original star turn for three revivals, two films and counting. Funny Girl's book was dismissed as weak. The film was heavily edited to focus on it's star Barbra Streisand and subsequent attempts at revivals have yet to secure backing.
Some similarities: Both musicals have backstage rise-to-fame plots, VERY LOOSELY based on real-life stars and scores by Jule Styne. Fanny and Louise both clash with their mothers. Nicky and Herbie both abandon their leading ladies after a dressing room confrontation. Both shows end act one with a rousing song of unhealthy determination.
Later this week I'll look at how the shows differ, and why a Funny Girl revival may be better in our imaginations than in reality.