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'Gypsy' remake with Barbra Streisand is off

March 14, 2011 |  9:08 pm

Streisand "Well, someone tell me, when is it my turn?" So goes Mama Rose's plaintive cry near the end of "Gypsy," and now maybe it's Barbra Streisand's too. She'd been planning to star in a new screen version of the classic musical, but Warner Bros. said Monday that the project was no longer active there. No explanation was offered, but as our sister blog Culture Monster reports, Arthur Laurents, who wrote the book for the original 1959 Broadway musical, told the Hartford Courant that he had withdrawn permission for it.

Laurents, 93, who also has directed several Broadway revivals of the show, said his decision had nothing to do with Streisand. He initially was open to the idea because he disliked the 1962 film adaptation with Rosalind Russell but said he changed his mind after talking with lyricist Stephen Sondheim, who told him not to think of “Gypsy” as needing a definitive movie version because it's a work of theater, where “you can have different productions, different Roses on into infinity.”

A spokesman for Streisand declined comment.

— Lee Margulies

Photo: Barbra Streisand. Credit: Russell James

Comments () | Archives (11)

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Just because Barbra would make the definitive version doesn't mean there wouldn't be many theater productions. Sondheim is plain wrong and he mislead Laurent.

Wrong move. Sondheim and Lauents are wrong.

The whole thing is irrelevant anyway because Streisand is far too old to play Mama Rose. Rose Hovick was in her early to mid-40s when most of this story took place; Streisand is 68.

Besides, I'd rather see someone make a version of this story that is much closer to the truth, say like "Early Havoc", one of the two books that Gypsy's sister, June, wrote. (The second was called "More Havoc".) The current Gypsy story is merely a very loose adaptation of Gypsy's memoirs, which themselves are a fictionalized account of the whole story.

Mmmm. Streisand would have been 52 or 53 when she birthed June and Rose. Love Streisand and love Gypsy the show, but I would rather see it on stage. They blew it when they did it with Rosalind Russell. Let it go.

What they should do is a movie about the real Rose and Mama. It would be more like Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. They were both dreadful women.

Sondheim & Laurents screwed it up for the rest of us.

yup, this is a real missed opp to give that musical life OUTSIDE of the theater. and in many ways perhaps, guarantee it's ongoing status as a classic that needs to be seen live.

and yeah, Streisand is actually too old for the role, but looks great and with the magic of the cameras and such pull it off. but more than that, it's a role with the kind of juice and bloodiness to it that could result in a terrifying and terrific performance on some level, because it's about a mother who ENVYS the success of her daughter, which she thought should've been hers.

i think this would've pulled something out of Babs that we haven't quite ever seen.

Arthur's acting like a coot

Barbra does not look her age. The real Mama Rose looks far older in photos taken of her. What a horrible mistake those men made. Barbra would have been magnificent!

I am somehow glad she doesn't play Gypsy. I love her too much to hate her, even in a movie.

Laurents is taking this kind of advice from Sondheim... who couldn't wait to see his Sweeney Todd on the screen?!?! Funny, I don't remember Sondheim thinking Mrs. Lovetts "into infinity" was good enough for him.

Barbra in Gypsy. Please, Mr. Laurents, give us all reason to live.

Thank dog it's off! Streisand is soooo annoying with that Bronx accent--still!--and she can't act. Remember "Prince of Tides" where her long squared-off claws seemed to have a starring role? She is a self-absorbed no-talent and homely as mud. Every "American Idol" features at least three who can sing better than she did in her prime, which was 40 years ago. Go home.


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