Tag Archives: Jule Styne

Monday, November 5, 2018

Herbie leaves Rose – Gypsy (1993) HD + Small World Redux – Video

Herbie leaves Rose - Gypsy (1993) HD + Small Word Redux

SMALL WORLD - Bette Midler From the Broadway Musical "Gypsy" (1959) (Music: Jule Styne / Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim)

Funny, you're a stranger who's come here Come from another town Funny, I'm a stranger myself here Small world, isn't it? Funny, you're a girl who goes trav'lin' Rather than settlin' down Funny, 'cause I'd love to go trav'lin' Small world, isn't it? We have so much in common It's a phenomenon We could pool our resources By joining forces from now on Lucky, you're a girl who likes children That's an important sign Lucky, 'cause I'd love to have children Small world, isn't it? Funny, isn't it? Small and funny and fine (bridge) Lucky, 'cause I'd love to have children Small world, isn't it? Funny, isn't it? Small and funny and fine
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Friday, September 30, 2016

On The Ethel Merman Legacy Of Gypsy:

Bette Midler On The Ethel Merman Legacy Of Gypsy: ” I felt the ghost of Ethel was definitely hovering over me. And I didn’t want to listen to it because I didn’t want to be affected by that voice when I was making my own way through the songs. Still, I did feel her performance was one of those performances that are considered legendary. . . .” (1993)

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BetteBack April 11, 1992: Liz Smith – All Other Divas Sit Down…Bette Midler Signs On To Gypsy | BootLeg Betty Read More

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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

BetteBack March 20, 1993: ‘Gypsy’ Casting And A Return To The Concert Circuit For Miss M

Indiana Gazette
March 20, 1993


Bette Midler makes her dramatic television film debut later this year when she stars in CBS’ three-hour version of the Arthur Laurents, Jule Styne, Stephen Sondheim theater legend “Gypsy,” playing the stage mother to end all stage mothers, the rapacious Rose.

Rehearsals for “Gypsy” begin this month with shooting slated for May. And here’s some casting news. In the role of the long-suffering Herbie, who wants Rose to settle down and get out of show biz, will be Pater Riegert, whom you may remember from the movie “Crossing Delancy” and the short-lived but critically acclaimed TV series “Middle Ages.” (Riegert and Midler were once an item, way back when.

(They remained friends.) Robert Morse may or may not play Uncle Jocko, the vaudeville comic—confusion reigns on this point. BdJtsner im cast as Rose’s father. The all-important choices for Baby June and Gypsy herself have yet to be made.

Of course, real “Gypsy” aficionados want to know who’ll play Miss Tessie Tura, Electra and Mazeppa, the three stripping dames who bump and grind the fabled show to a tumultuous stop. Hollywood wiseacres insist Midler herself will play all three roles and might even step into Gypsy’s G-string depending on how religiously she’s been using her Stalrmaster and Soloflex! I’m Just kidding, of course.

However, Midler does boast a spectacular bosom and a pair of the shapeliest legs in show biz – she’d probably look terrific in a couple of beads and a prayer.

And here’s a really hot piece of Bette business: Radio City Music Hall will not confirm (though it cannot deny) that Bette Midler is set to play the showplace in the fall in a series of concerts. If this happens, It will be the Divine One’s return to the New York stage
after a decade of moviemaking. Bette’s last major live singing appearance (at the Music Hall, colncldentally) was back in 1983, in her rowdy tour de force “Art or Bust.”

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Sunday, November 15, 2015

BetteBack April 11, 1992: Liz Smith – All Other Divas Sit Down…Bette Midler Signs On To Gypsy

Indiana Gazette
April 11, 1992


FLASH! Rights were closed last Friday for a CBS three-hour prime-time version of the great American musical comedyGypsy.”

And, are you sitting down? This will star none other than Bette Midler as Mama Rose! (I do hope Liza Minnelli and Tyne Daly and all the other divas who have yearned to revive this Ethel Merman role for the screen ARE sitting down.)

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

BetteBack September 25, 1993: Bette Midler Sings Two “Gypsy” Songs

Indiana Gazette
Liz Smith
September 25, 1993

Bette Midler has been killing them nightly with her rendition of “Rose’s Turn” from the monumental Broadway musical, “Gypsy.” She usually doesn’t sing that other classic, “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” from the same great hit show. But the other night, Bette announced from Radio City Music Hall‘s stage that she would sing “Roses” for the man who wrote it.

She introduced Jule Styne and asked him to stand up. The audience treated Styne like a pop star and lines of fans gathered near his seat at intermission. (This fabulous, venerable man of music will soon have his version of “The Red Shoes” opening on Broadway.)

After Bette’s finale, Styne and “Gypsy” libretto writer Arthur Laurents went backstage, where Bette told them all about post-production work on the CBS version of “Gypsy,” In which Bette bows this December. (If you want to read a Bette Midler exclusive, catch the Q and A done by yours truly with the divine one in the new issue of Elle.)

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Monday, January 30, 2012

BetteBack – Monday, November 6,1989: Writers Of Gypsy Turn Down Streisand, Midler, And Madonna

Winnipeg Free Press
Authors of Gypsy rebuff bids to remake film with Streisand
Monday, November 6,1989

HOLLYWOOD — Hollywood came calling with some of its biggest names: Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler, Madonna. But Broadway said “no.”

“Not for all the money in the world will we let them make another film version of Gypsy,” said playwright Arthur Laurents.

The first time Hollywood filmed the Broadway mu s i c a l, it was “lousy,” said composer Jule Styne, referring to the 1962 Warner Bros, adaptation that starred Rosalind Russell and Natalie Wood. Neither of the stars sang their roles in the Mervyn LeRoy-directed movie and critic Pauline Kael labeled the interpretation “extremely unpleasant.”

Famed stripper

This time, Laurents and Styne were reacting to two recent proposals to f i lm the 1959 show they co-wrote with lyricist Stephen Sondheim. The original version, based on the autobiography of famed stripper Gypsy Rose Lee, starred Ethel Merman.

Styne said he, Laurents and Sondheim last weekend nixed a proposal by the powerful Creative Artists Agency that would have cast Streisand as the domineering psychopathic Mama Rose and Madonna as the shy daughter-turned-stripper.

“We turned it down,” Styne said curtly. “We turned down a Midler version too,” referring to a proposal that he said was made by Walt Disney-Touchstone Pictures.

Turned down Streisand?

Turned down Midler?

Turned down two bigger-than-life actresses to play what is arguably one of the greatest female roles written for the musical theatre?

“Sure, it (the casting) is impressive, but we don’t want it … you don’t get the magic you get on the stage,” Styne said, calling the show and its string of hit songs “the most important thing I’ve ever written.”


“It’s almost unbelievable that they’re saying no to those names,” said one Hollywood-based film producer who asked that his name not be mentioned. “You rarely see this kind of regard for the integrity of a stage property.”

Styne made it clear the rejection had nothing to do with the stars. It is the concept of transferring the show from stage to film to which he objects. He said that after the 1962 film, “the show was dead in stock (touring productions). It took almost 30 years to offset that lousy picture.”

Styne was overlooking the 1974 revival that starred Angela Lansbury. Instead, his focus is on a new production, starring Tyne Daly, that will open Nov. 16 at New York’s St. James Theatre. The same 30th-anniversary production toured nationally earlier this year.

Echoing his fellow collaborator, Laurents said that after its successful run in Los Angeles last summer, the movie business was suddenly interested again. “It’s very Hollywood thinking,” he said of the casting concepts. “They think they’re doing us each a favor.

“No one seems to believe that you could turn down stars and money,” Laurents said. “Well, I don’t want it. . .. I like Gypsy the way it is.”


The way it is, in the current stage revival — which Laurents directed — is “the way it should be,” he said, adding that the show was conceived by Jerome Robbins for the stage and that the transition to f i lm would make it entirely a different piece.

That is a prospect he does not want to ponder, especially after the first go-round. Both Styne and L a u r e n ts a re quintessential Broadway animals, both having written such other hit shows and films as Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Funny Girl for Styne and West Side Story, The Way We Were and The Turning Point for Laurents. Their teaming with the young Sondheim for Gypsy produced what has become a legendary show that many critics consider the finest book musical ever.

As one f i lm casting agent put it, “What’s so great about Rose is it’s visceral. It’s from the guts.”

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

BetteBack: “To Err Is Midler, To Tour Is Divine…”

Monday, Oct. 04, 1993
Bette, Better, Best

Four showgirls stride onto the Radio City Music Hall stage to play a fanfare. It is fitting that one of the strumpets with trumpets is chewing gum, for she and her sisters are introducing a supremely brassy babe. Crescendo! Curtain! Giant cotton-swab clouds! And there, radiant on a throne, sits the Arch Angel of Pop and Schlock. The message is clear: Bette Midler has lived up to her self-promotion. She is divine.

After 25 years as a singer, comedian, actress and a heavenly blend of all three, the lady has earned her halo. It may be mild hyperbole to call Midler the greatest entertainer in the universe — there are, after all, other galaxies yet to be explored — but who can doubt she’s the hardest-working woman in show biz? In New York City, where she stars until Oct. 23 in the longest stop of her first tour in a decade, Bette is poetry in perpetual motion, from her prompt entrance at 8:10 (royalty is always punctual) to her exhausted departure just before 11. She must cover about 10 miles a night in the mincing steps she takes across the Music Hall expanse. Playing the tacky chanteuse Delores DeLago in mermaid fin and motorized wheelchair, she races around like a Betty Andretti. She’ll go supine on the stage, as if it were her analyst’s couch, then busily buff the floor with her derriere. If there were windows in this grand Art Deco auditorium, she’d do them.

The ticket prices are preposterously high — $100 for a seat up front — and the evening is worth every precious penny. Say, if you will, that it’s five $20 shows in one, and count the ways. Bette the incendiary torch singer, in fine voice at 47; her ’70s classic Stay with Me is still a rhythm-and-blues catharsis. Bette the jaunty favorite of the dear departed bathhouse set, making Long Island jokes (“Hell’s little theme park”) and addressing her earlier fans: “I see we have our quorum of leather queens here tonight.” Bette the Broadway star, fronting campy production numbers and performing the stark Rose’s Turn from her forthcoming CBS revival of Gypsy. Bette the burlesque comic, delivering her Sophie Tucker jokes with a wonderfully perky diction that bleaches out the blue. Finally, Bette the nonpareil balladeer; she has now sung The Rose 4,186 times, but it and her other standards still bloom. Age has made Midler’s interpretations subtler, more mature, and her supple pipes rarely get frazzed by the punishing workout she puts them through five nights a week.

This combination of seeming spontaneity and dogged perfectionism might take its toll on a girl, or even on a middle-aged Midler. That, at least, is a running gag in the Experience the Divine tour. Who needs Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard when Bette does the aging diva right here? She tells us, in a cunning rap song, that she’s been compromised, Disneyized, classified, Jurassified. “I don’t get out much anymore,” she demurely declares, adding that mostly she sits “in my star trailer watching CNN. I know what everyone in Bosnia is wearing.” She frets that she has Oldtimer’s disease, or at least Part-timer’s (“Did I sing the ballad yet? Was it wonderful?”). She also purports to worry about sullying her “newfound stature.” When her backup trio, “the politically correct Harlettes,” starts a striptease in the home of the world-famed Christmas show, Bette goes frantic: “Girls, this is Radio City! They have a manger backstage!”

The merriment plays off an apprehension of Midler’s public, if not of the star herself, that she is in a slight career trough. A decade ago, she suffered an acrimonious flop film (Jinxed) and a nervous breakdown. She rebounded into a saner life, with a doting husband and an adored daughter, and the movie stardom that had previously eluded her. But her past three films ! have fallen this side of blockbuster. Scenes from a Mall swallowed her and Woody Allen whole; Hocus Pocus was a moderately popular summer farce; she turned down the original Sister Act script to make the epic musical For the Boys, which sank expensively, though it featured superb Bette renditions of Stuff Like That There and Every Road Leads Back to You. Perhaps she was hurt by that failure; she sings nothing from the film in her current concert. If she had an unequivocal hit in this period, it was on May 21, 1992, as Johnny Carson’s final Tonight Show guest, singing special lyrics to You Made Me Love You. This poignant spot made one think of another career for Midler: world’s sassiest, most gifted talk-show host. No one could be better than Bette at keeping viewers up all night.

Still, if one were to condemn her to a single job, it would be to do what she is doing right now. To err is Midler; to tour, divine. This star needs to be appreciated live, where her voice sounds fuller than on records, where her jokes have an easier intimacy than on TV, where she can raid the piano bench of every pop composer from Jule Styne to John Prine and make it sound completely her, where her tiny frame and infectious smile fill a huge stage. And where she looks fit and pretty. Strutting in her royal blue lounge outfit, she tells the crowd, “I bet you didn’t expect me to look quite . . . this . . . fabulous.” Somehow, we did. A unique talent in a chic package: that’s the story of, that’s the glory of Bette.

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Saturday, June 12, 2010

BetteBack: A Rose Is A Rose Is A Rose

Article from:Albany Times Union (Albany, NY) Article date:December 12, 1993
Byline: LYNN ELBER – Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — Three decades ago, Broadway star Ethel Merman claimed the musical “Gypsy” as her own. Now another divine Miss M, Bette Midler, is trying it on for size.

Midler stars as Mama Rose, mother of legendary stripper Gypsy Rose Lee, in a three-hour CBS TV movie (8 p.m. Sunday) of the 1959 stage hit that later became a film vehicle for Rosalind Russell in 1962.

“I’ve always wanted to play that part,” says Midler, who co-stars with Peter Riegert.

“In the American theater, there’s a couple of roles for women you grow into … a part that people dream of playing all their lives,” she says. “And this Rose was a dream of mine.”

The score — including such gems as “Everything’s Coming up Roses” and “You Gotta Have a Gimmick” — also enticed her, Midler says. “I love those songs. One after another, every single one of them is a hit.”

Perched on a chair in a Beverly Hills hotel suite, Midler looks every bit as chic as her surroundings. A black pantsuit shows off her newly slender figure, and she wears a fanciful mop of blond curls.

“I AM thin,” says Midler, in surprised tones, surveying her image in a mirror after an onlooker’s comment.

Very unlike Mama Rose, who conveys heft and an unyielding obstinacy. She is the mother of all stage mothers, a larger-than-life, driven woman who ultimately pushes her daughter into the seamy world of burlesque.

(The play, created by Jerome Robbins, Arthur Laurents, Stephen Sondheim and Jule Styne, had two major and acclaimed stage revivals: in 1971 with Angela Lansbury as Rose and in 1989 with Tyne Daly in the starring role.)

Craig Zadan — a friend of co-creator Sondheim, Neil Meron, Robert Halmi Sr. and Midler’s partner, Bonnie Bruckheimer, served as executive producers for the CBS project. Emile Ardolino, who died last month, directed Midler in a faithful adaptation of the musical.

But unlike Merman, who played it brassy and hard, Midler says she decided to bring a softer-edged approach to the character drawn from Gypsy Rose Lee’s memoirs.

“My idea for it originally was even darker than what we wound up doing,” Midler says. “The truth is, a person who lets her daughter strip … what kind of a person is that? She really does have a problem.”

But she felt Mama Rose, who endured childhood poverty and periods of abandonment by her own mother, deserved more subtle shadings.

“I think she’s tough when she has to be tough; she’s not sentimental,” Midler said. “But you have to have a little vulnerability — otherwise, it’s just a one-dimensional character.”

She also wanted to portray the gusto of a woman who won’t settle for a routine life, and who refuses to allow her children do so.

“The wonderful thing about the way the character is written is that she’s monstrous but she’s also very charming, has great wit, is a ball to be around,” Midler says. “She makes life exciting.”

But she’s no role model for Midler, who wouldn’t consider steering her6-year-old daughter, Sophie, into an early show business career.

“I don’t think it’s a healthy environment,” she says. “This is a business where people are extremely rough, and people can kill your spirit. I don’t approve of it.”

Childhood, she adds, is “such a short time.”

Midler looks forward to more time with Sophie and her husband, Martin Von Haselberg, as a flurry of projects come to an end. She completed the movie “Hocus Pocus” five days before starting “Gypsy.” During filming of the TV movie, she began planning her current concert tour.

It was “Gypsy’s” music that sparked the tour, which has drawn rave reviews and enthusiastic audiences (it wraps up in San Francisco in January).

“I got a brand-new voice from ‘Gypsy’,” Midler says. “I got notes I never had before (and) I said ‘I want to do this again. I want to sing live again.”‘

Now, she says, enough is enough.

“I’d like to just be with my child for a while,” she says. “I’ve done a lot in the last year and a half. It’s been a real treadmill — and it’s been very rewarding — but I’m ready to turn it off for a while.”
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