08 January, 2008

Absolutely Perfectly Written. Period.

Some of you may be wondering, as I once did, what exactly it is that makes Gypsy the perfect American musical. How can this musical about an overbearing stage mother and her soon-to-be stripper daughter qualify as anything true, good, or beautiful?

Putting your finger on perfection is a difficult task. It’s never the result of one thing, but all things working together, well, perfectly. It’s music, lyrics, and book flowing out of characters who think, act, and react just as a person would in real life. It’s capturing the essence of the universal in a series of specifics: the strange tension of competition and love between a mother and daughter, the destructive nature of love in the form of favoritism, and the male-female dynamic all exploding from the stage in a backstage story to end all backstage stories.

Gypsy is not a story about a stripper. It is not a story about Momma Rose or Gypsy Rose Lee. It's a story about life. With all its comedy, tragedy, and drama. You will laugh, you will cry, and you’ll probably be terrified. And once your stomach settles and your knees stop quaking, you will leave the theatre with a different outlook on life.

If a piece of art can do all that, you have to call it perfect.

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