Michael Portantiere wrote:
TSR: Your second Sondheim-Laurents role was nothing less than Rose in Gypsy.
AL: That was a real breakthrough for me. I started it, as you probably know, in the London production. We rehearsed in a drill hall in Clapham, which is now considered very "in," but in those days was not. I have to tell you, it was due to the encouragement and help of Stephen, Arthur and Jule Styne in London during the rehearsal period that I managed to work the role up to the point where everyone was pleased. I really had to learn a lot in a short space of time, because here I was doing something I had always said I wouldn't do, which was to follow in a role that had been created originally by Ethel Merman. I was very worried and trepidatious, as you can imagine. But they gave me every possible bit of encouragement, and Stephen particularly made it possible for me to come through.
TSR: Rose is considered one of the greatest female roles in the musical theatre canon, and one of the most difficult....
AL: ...I have discovered that almost all of Gypsy is available in little pieces on YouTube.