Tyne Daly Triumphs in `Gypsy'

Nothing is slighted in Broadway's glittery revival of the 1959 stage-mother saga. THEATER: REVIEW

By , Special to The Christian Science Monitor

GYPSY Musical with book by Arthur Laurents, music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Directed by Mr. Laurents. Jerome Robbins's choreography reproduced by Bonnie Walker. Starring Tyne Daly. At the St. James. ON a chilly November evening, four-time Emmy Award winner Tyne Daly of TV's ``Cagney & Lacey'' became Tyne Daly, authentic Broadway star. The event was the latest revival of ``Gypsy,'' which opened to widespread acclaim. Miss Daly follows in the wake of Ethel Merman, whose unforgettable performance launched Mama Rose's legendary career in 1959, and of Angela Lansbury's memorable performance in 1976. But the latest Rose belongs emphatically to the new star.

In the 30 years since its premi`ere, ``Gypsy'' has become a Broadway classic - the saga of how a relentlessly ambitious mother forced her two daughters into the show business careers that she believed circumstances had denied her. With a book of exceptional range and a score to match, ``Gypsy'' joined the ranks of legendary musicals.

Miss Daly seizes on the role with all the drive and passion it invites. From ``Some People,'' Rose's sardonic adieu to her native Seattle, to the self-revealing agonies of ``Rose's Turn,'' the star creates her own down-to-earth image of the impossible, impregnable Rose. Yet the actress also revels in Rose's comic side, the capacity for self-mockery that accompanies the woman's demonic determination.

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``Let Me Entertain You'' is the leitmotif of ``Gypsy,'' from its hilarious introduction by Baby June and Baby Louise (Christen Tassin and Kristen Mahon) through a series of lampoon metamorphoses and a final reprise by grown-up Louise (Crista Moore), the emergent sophisticated stripper. Grown-up June (Tracy Venner) has already escaped Mama Rose's bondage to pursue an acting career. Louise's ultimate declaration of independence sets the stage for the heartbreaking confessional of ``Rose's Turn.''

``Gypsy'' abounds in lively and lovely melodies, all classily performed at the St. James. Typical of the Styne-Sondheim treasures are Rose and Herbie's ``Small World,'' Louise's tender ``Little Lamb,'' and Louise and June's rueful-funny duet, ``If Mama Was Married.'' In the ``Together'' trio by Rose, Louise, and Herbie, and elsewhere, Jonathan Hadary exudes the warmth and diffident charm of the longsuffering agent who almost marries mama.

Nothing has been slighted in the new ``Gypsy.'' The production has been staged by Mr. Laurents (who also directed the 1976 revival). Bonnie Walker has reproduced Jerome Robbins's choreography with all its mock nostalgia, comic vulgarity, and contrasting delicacy (in ``All I Need Is a Girl'' as danced by Robert Lambert and Miss Moore).

The Kenneth Foy settings explore the backstage seaminess behind the onstage glitter. Theoni V. Aldredge has designed a trunkful of theatrical costumes. -30-{et

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