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It’s Just The Gypsies On My Ipod

Updated on September 17, 2008

Last weekend I copied my latest musical theatre CD over to my Itunes library on my computer. As I finished the download, I looked and was less than amazed to find that this was the fifth version of Gypsy on my Ipod. I have the Ethel Merman version, the Angela Lansbury version, The Bernadette Peters version, the Bette Midler version (TV movie that it was) and now the Patti LuPone version. (Yes, gay men everywhere will be shocked that I don't have the Tyne Daly one but to be honest I just never really cared for her in the role. Another blog for another day) I had to laugh at myself that I had so many versions of the same musical on my Ipod and at the same time was wondering if there was indeed a Rosalind Russell version available because although she wasn't a singer per se, I think I'd like to have that one too. So although some may think that it's my somewhat effeminate nature or my tooling about in my red and black Mini Cooper, I think if future civilizations are trying to find out who and what I was it's just the Gypsies on my Ipod - Don't Get Me Started!

True, the overture for Gypsy to me is the best example of a classic Broadway overture but that's not why I have all of these different versions on my Ipod and lest you think I'm some kind of hoarder or something, that's not the reason I have so many versions of this musical. I think the true reason I have this many versions is that I truly believe that each performer brings something new to a role. Now in my years of performing there are certainly the exceptions to this rule (like when you're the understudy and if you do one extra eyebrow raise that the other performer normally does you'll have an entire cast and production team all over your ass for "throwing the show off") but on the whole, while it definitely takes a great written role for a great performance, different performances are also great in different ways. One may be a better singer for the role, one may be a better actor but they all need to make you feel something for them or it's not a great performance.

I don't know that there are that many of us who had a pushy mother push us through vaudeville but I do know that the idea of a single mother didn't start with Julia on the television in the 1960's nor did trying to live your dreams through your children. (Are you listening Mama Phelps? Or are you busy starching Michael's Speedo for his next race?) My point is that pushy mothers aren't as bad as some might think. I grew up wanting to do theatre and so I began at the early age of six with the role of "Tiny Tim" in A Christmas Carol (I could probably still bring the house down with my reading of his only line, "God Bless Us, Everyone." It's all about the pause after "us" that makes the audience weep) but I got into "the show business" because I begged. Sure my mother was the one who took me to the auditions and my father begged me to quit every time I didn't get a part and was devastated but it was my choice, my dream, no one else's. Yet, if I didn't have my mother pushing me to do what I was told, listen to the dance teacher, director, etc. I would never have gotten as good as I was - for the greatest never was been there ever was. So although I worked with a lot of kids whose mothers would pull their hair if they sang a note off key or didn't get to the mic in front of the other kids performing, my mother was never one of those and I'm eternally grateful.

The thing about Gypsy that I think is pretty universal for anyone who had a parent who was involved in their extracurricular pursuits is that you see that sometimes our parents want it more for us than we do for ourselves. Because they love us, want us to be happy and let's face it, they want us to be our best. But I think it also speaks to those siblings who were left in the shadows when a family focuses on one "star" in the family (whether it be on stage or on the soccer field). An amazing thing happens to the child in the shadows. Sometimes they grow much more emotionally than the star who was handed the biggest applause because somewhere along the line the other child learned to applaud for themselves.

Let's face it, the last two paragraphs are a bunch of hooey! The reason we gay men (and a lot of women) love Gypsy is that the music is great, the role of Rose is so great and on some level, if you ever thought of doing drag, it would be Rose's Turn you would be lip synching to instead of something from Cats or Rent! We gays just love a strong woman - to hold me, to scold me, to guide me, beside me. So why do I have so many versions of this musical on my Ipod? I don't know kids but it's just the Gypsies on my Ipod - Don't Get Me Started!

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      LoLo 9 years ago

      I am loving Patti Lupone's version too. So glad I got it!! I especially enjoy the overature as well. And, thanks for the other two paragraphs which I understood completely and appreciate.