BootLeg Betty

BetteBack January 9, 1994: ‘Gypsy’ Soundtrack Review

The Record (Bergen County, NJ)
January 9, 1994 | BARBARA JAEGER

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Bette Midler, “Gypsy — Original Soundtrack Recording” (Atlantic)

Bette Midler isn’t the only one singing on the soundtrack for the
recently broadcast television special of the classic Broadway musical.
But she’s the only one who matters.

It’s not that Peter Riegert (as Herbie) and Cynthia Gibb (as
Louise, who becomes the stripper Gypsy Rose Lee) are terrible. They’re
not. They just can’t hold a candle to Midler, who sinks her vocal chords
into tunes made famous by Ethel Merman (“Some People,” “Everything’s
Coming Up Roses”) and doesn’t let go until she claims these songs as her
own.

As wonderful as Midler is on these tunes, however, her tour de
force performance comes near the end of the impeccably produced
collection. Alternating between brassy defiance and whispering sadness
in “Rose’s Turn,” Midler effectively conveys not only the abrasive side
of Mama Rose’s personality, but evokes sympathy for the stage
mother-from-hell.

For that Midler deserves both an Emmy and a Grammy.

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