...what it was like seeing Patti Lupone's final performance as Rose in Gypsy
on Jan. 11, hurry up and watch this video filmed illegally from the rafters by some anonymous person before YouTube takes it down! With this performance, you understand why she has become a legend of the Broadway stage. (This wasn't one of the performances I saw, but it is spectacular
This is what Ben Brantley says in his review for The New York Times
, and he says it better than I ever could have: If in the Encores! version of “Gypsy,” Ms. LuPone seemed to be trying on and discarding different aspects of Rose as if they were party hats, she has now settled on a single, highly disciplined interpretation that combines explosively contradictory elements into a single, deceptively ordinary-looking package.It’s as if the new wig she wears here — a ’30s-style mop of recalcitrant curls that is a vast improvement on her blunt bowl cut of last summer — had forced her to internalize her many ideas about what makes Rose run. And while Rose may be a dauntingly single-minded creature, Ms. LuPone now plays her less on one note than any actress I’ve seen.
This Rose begins as a busy, energetic, excited woman, and you can’t help being infected by her liveliness. You understand why Herbie would be smitten with her, and for once, his description of her as looking “like a pioneer woman without a frontier” fits perfectly. But every so often a darker, creepier willpower erupts, as involuntary as a hiccup.
In Rose’s two great curtain numbers, “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” and “Rose’s Turn,” the darkness takes over so completely that you feel that you’re watching a woman who has been peeled down to her unadorned id. In “Rose’s Turn,” in particular, Ms. LuPone takes you on a guided tour of all Rose’s inner demons, from sexual succubus to shivering infant. (Be warned: they will live in your head for a while.)
When Ms. LuPone delivers “Rose’s Turn,” she’s building a bridge for an audience to walk right into one woman’s nervous breakdown. There is no separation at all between song and character, which is what happens in those uncommon moments when musicals reach upward to achieve their ideal reasons to be. This “Gypsy” spends much of its time in such intoxicating air.
And so, with no further ado, "Rose's Turn" as performed by Patti Lupone:
And yes, for those of you who were asking, I saw her cry. Sent a shiver down my spine when all of a sudden she looked up toward the balcony ("...there wouldn't be lights bright enough...!"), and her eyes were red...