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Is Gypsy really "absolutely perfect?" 
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Post Yip
Of course it's nit-picking. But when it comes to labels like perfection, it all comes down to the details.

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Thu Jan 08, 2009 10:50 am
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Tony Winner
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GYPSY is far from perfect. To me, it is one of the all-time GREAT cheats in musical theatre, i.e., it is VERY EASY AND LAZY to create a musical out of someone whose life is ALREADY connected with music and theatre. I mean you throw in 'presentation' numbers and it all LOOKS rather sesamless but in fact, it is a lazy way out.

Compare that to a SOUTH PACIFIC or a MAN OF LA MANCHA, LES MISERABLES or even THE MUSIC MAN where, except for one or 2 instances, the song/musical number is slipped in seamlessly and magnifies the emotional high of the moment...and, in the right expert hands, is all part of the fabric of the story. In musicals like GYPSY, CABARET and CHICAGO, the writers 'cheat' by throwing in presentational numbers which on the surface seem OK given the 'show biz' context of the stories. But in reality, they are the LAZY writer's way out in trying to craft a musical. Cheats...that's why I call 'em.


Sat Jan 24, 2009 11:03 am
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GungaDin wrote:
GYPSY is far from perfect. To me, it is one of the all-time GREAT cheats in musical theatre, i.e., it is VERY EASY AND LAZY to create a musical out of someone whose life is ALREADY connected with music and theatre. I mean you throw in 'presentation' numbers and it all LOOKS rather sesamless but in fact, it is a lazy way out.

Compare that to a SOUTH PACIFIC or a MAN OF LA MANCHA, LES MISERABLES or even THE MUSIC MAN where, except for one or 2 instances, the song/musical number is slipped in seamlessly and magnifies the emotional high of the moment...and, in the right expert hands, is all part of the fabric of the story. In musicals like GYPSY, CABARET and CHICAGO, the writers 'cheat' by throwing in presentational numbers which on the surface seem OK given the 'show biz' context of the stories. But in reality, they are the LAZY writer's way out in trying to craft a musical. Cheats...that's why I call 'em.


Cheating? I don't quite understand how that qualifies as cheating. A good story is a good story, whether told through music or not. And by the way, by your definition, Man of La Mancha is also a "cheat" because the story is told through the eyes of a somewhat dillusional man, who is thus imagining many of the songs and sequences. See what I mean? It's stupid to say that.

Btw, Gypsy is usually known as perfect because of its book more than anything. And yes, it's pretty near perfect. The dialogue is amazingly written by Laurents.

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Sat Jan 24, 2009 11:29 am
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And for that matter, let's add "The Music Man," also from Gunga's list, to ours. Of necessity, a marching band has to play music, so the songs he teaches are easily a part of Harold Hill's "teaching" method.


Sat Jan 24, 2009 3:50 pm
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Tony Winner
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Yes, but he's a 'con-man' so in reality is -- he is NOT TRULY musical. So it is harder to craft this 'fake musican' into a credible musical realm vs. people in GYPSY who are wannabees on the fringes of theatre.

Jman, I am NOT AS blinded as you are by Arthur Laurents's book. So what? I still am NOT impressed by it. It is an [b]over-rated musical [/b]about an abusive monster of a mother, and really in the "B" list in my book.

Yes, Don Quixote is delusional -- so what? He was not a musician in his 'normal' state -- so I DON'T see how that equates with the charactesr of GYPSY, CABARET or CHICAGO.


Sat Jan 24, 2009 4:29 pm
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Post What a JOKE!!!
GungaDin wrote:
GYPSY is far from perfect. To me, it is one of the all-time GREAT cheats in musical theatre, i.e., it is VERY EASY AND LAZY to create a musical out of someone whose life is ALREADY connected with music and theatre. I mean you throw in 'presentation' numbers and it all LOOKS rather seamless but in fact, it is a lazy way out.

Compare that to a SOUTH PACIFIC or a MAN OF LA MANCHA, LES MISERABLES or even THE MUSIC MAN where, except for one or 2 instances, the song/musical number is slipped in seamlessly and magnifies the emotional high of the moment...and, in the right expert hands, is all part of the fabric of the story. In musicals like GYPSY, CABARET and CHICAGO, the writers 'cheat' by throwing in presentational numbers which on the surface seem OK given the 'show biz' context of the stories. But in reality, they are the LAZY writer's way out in trying to craft a musical. Cheats...that's why I call 'em.

This has got to be one of the most bizarre on-topic posts I have ever read on this forum - and I've been here for a decade. It seriously makes me wonder whether you know anything about dramaturgy at all.

By your criteria, many of the greatest musicals ever written should be considered lazy hackwork - off the top of my head I can think of Show Boat, Follies, A Chorus Line, Merrily We Roll Along, Dreamgirls, Crazy For You. Perhaps less great but also relevant, The Phantom of the Opera. Even South Pacific and The King and I include diegetic numbers! So to fulfill this ridiculous criteria there would have to be no Thanksgiving show in the former and no ballet in the latter!

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Sun Jan 25, 2009 12:10 am
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The very POINT of Chicago as Fosse did it was that every song is that way--not one song is a book song technically. To use it as an example is beyond bizarre.

And Gypsy hardly depends on their presentational numbers for their effect. Groundless :P I agree with Jude on this... Why is it lazy to, especially cleverly, use stage numbers as part of the fabric of your piece? Shakespeare used the dramatic technique in works as far back as Hamlet and Midsummer Night's Dream.


Sun Jan 25, 2009 12:59 am
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[quote="EricMontreal22"] Shakespeare used the dramatic technique in works as far back as Hamlet and Midsummer Night's Dream.[/quote]

Shakespeare was lazy too, and frankly, is over-rated.


Wed Jan 28, 2009 7:26 am
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Gypy's perfect. 'Nuff said. The book is simply brilliant. The score is too, but it's the book that really sells it for me.


Fri Jan 29, 2010 6:35 pm
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gypsy_girl wrote:
Every line is essential...


Yeah, Rose asking Louise if the dog peed or not was really essential to the show. :roll:

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Sat Jan 30, 2010 8:29 am
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Jman383 wrote:
Btw, Gypsy is usually known as perfect because of its book more than anything. And yes, it's pretty near perfect. The dialogue is amazingly written by Laurents.


Some of my favorite lines of dialogue ("I'm bumpin' my brains out and nothin''s happenin'!") are exactly as they were written in Gypsy Rose Lee's autobiography that the show was based off of. When I read them in there I couldn't stop smiling haha

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