Regarded by many theater professionals as the greatest musical ever created, GYPSY is the ultimate tale of an ambitious stage mother fighting for her daughters' success... while secretly yearning for her own. Set all across America in the 1920's, when vaudeville was dying and burlesque was born, Arthur Laurents' landmark show explores the world of two-bit show business with brass, humor, heart, and sophistication. The celebrated score by Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim boasts one glorious hit after another, including: "Let Me Entertain You," "Some People," "You'll Never Get Away from Me," "If Momma Was Married," "All I Need Is the Girl," "Everything's Coming Up Roses," "You Gotta Get A Gimmick," "Small World," and "Together Wherever We Go."

Music samples provided courtesy of Angel Records and Warner/Chappell, Music Inc.

Authorized performance and rehearsal tracks for GYPSY are available from The MT Pit. For more information, visit themtpit.com.


After a rousing Overture, the show opens at a vaudeville theatre in Seattle. Sisters Baby June and Baby Louise are auditioning for Uncle Jocko’s variety act (“Let Me Entertain You”) but they’re interrupted by an offstage voice yelling, “Sing out, Louise!” Rose Hovick, the girls’ overbearing stage mother, enters and tries to intimidate Uncle Jocko into hiring them. When the girls lose out to a balloon-adorned tap dancer, Rose bursts the girl’s balloons and drags her daughters back home. Rose asks her father for some money to create a newer, much bigger vaudeville act. When her father refuses, Rose storms out, stealing his gold plaque to finance a trip to Los Angeles (“Some People”).

In L.A., Rose meets mild-mannered Herbie, whom she flirtatiously entices to manage the girls’ act (“Small World”). With Herbie’s help, Rose creates a new act starring June, supported by shy Louise and a group of dancing boys (“Baby June and Her Newsboys”). As the act tours the small-time circuit, the girls gradually get older, but their act never changes. One night, as Rose and all the kids crowd into a cheap hotel room to celebrate Louise’s birthday, Herbie introduces Rose to Mr. Goldstone of the more reputable Orpheum Circuit. Rose, invigorated by the opportunity, feverishly caters to her guest (“Have An Eggroll, Mr. Goldstone”). Louise, feeling forgotten, privately celebrates her birthday with her pet lamb (“Little Lamb”).

The act, reworked as “Dainty June and Her Farmboys,” continues to tour. In a Chinese restaurant in New York, Herbie proposes marriage to Rose, but she is more focused on show business. Herbie threatens to leave them someday, but Rose laughs it off, telling him, “You’ll Never Get Away From Me.” A powerful producer offers June a contract, provided she goes to school, takes acting lessons, and keeps her mother far away. But Rose adamantly refuses the contract, and the girls despair at her behavior, dreaming of a normal life (“If Momma Was Married”).

The act continues to tour, but June and the boys have grown too old. One boy, Tulsa, confides in Louise that he plans to branch out on his own (“All I Need Is The Girl”). Louise is smitten, but she soon finds a note from June saying June and Tulsa have run off together. Rose is stunned by the betrayal. Herbie suggests they give up show business and get married, but she refuses. With sudden intensity, Rose turns her focus on Louise, insisting that Louise, not June, is the key to their success (“Everything’s Coming Up Roses”).

As the curtain rises on Act Two, little has changed. Rose leads a miserable rehearsal of “Madame Rose’s Toreadorables,” which is really a reworking of the old act, with girls replacing the boys and Louise replacing June — complete with blonde wig. Exasperated, Louise rips off the wig and tells Rose she’s not her sister. Rose reassures her, and along with Herbie, they sing “Together Wherever We Go”.

Herbie gets the new act, now dubbed “Rose Louise and Her Hollywood Blondes,” a two-week booking. When they arrive at the venue, they quickly realize it’s a burlesque house, and Rose refuses to let Louise perform. Louise, recognizing that they’re broke and need the money, convinces Rose to relent. The three broken-down strippers sharing Louise’s dressing room tell her “You Gotta Get a Gimmick.”

Louise performs her usual act, and Rose finally agrees to marry Herbie when the contract is over. As they pack to leave, the theatre manager announces that the star attraction has been arrested for soliciting, and Rose immediately responds, “My daughter can do it!” Rose, manic with ambition, begins planning costumes and music for Louise’s new act. Herbie, disgusted and fed up, quietly leaves her. Despite Louise’s stage fright, Rose forces her onto the stage. Louise begins a shy rendition of “Let Me Entertain You,” but she gradually gains confidence and her simple act evolves into into a full strip routine. Over time, reserved Louise transforms herself into a burlesque superstar, the glamorous and confident Gypsy Rose Lee.

In Louise’s dressing room at Minsky’s in New York, the starlet entertains reporters and photographers. Rose, realizing she’s no longer needed, storms out of the dressing room, embittered and hurt. Alone on an empty stage, Rose asks, “Why did I do it? What did it get me?” and she finally lets her ambition loose, belting out a huge number of her own (“Rose’s Turn”). As Rose bows to an empty house, Louise applauds and says, “You really would have been something, Mother.” They reconcile, and Rose starts telling Louise about her new “dream.” As mother and daughter exit together, Rose takes one last look behind her at the runway lights, but they quickly darken and the curtain falls.


A Musical Fable

Book by Arthur Laurents

Music by Jule Styne      Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

Suggested by the memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee

Original Production by David Merrick & Leland Hayward

Entire production originally directed and
choreographed by Jerome Robbins

Such credits to the authors for all purposes shall be in type size equal to or greater than that of any other credits except for that of the star(s) above the title. In the programs, the credits shall appear on the title page thereof.

The title page of the program shall contain the following announcement in type size at least one-half the size of the authors’ credits:

is presented by arrangement with

Additionally, you agree to include the above language hyperlinked to http://www.tamswitmark.com/ on all websites on which you promote the play.


NOTE: Authorized performance and rehearsal tracks for GYPSY are available from The MT Pit. For more information, visit themtpit.com.

Full Instrumentation

(* indicates optional Reed instrument)

2 Violin A
1 Violin B
1 Viola
1 Cello
1 Bass

1 Reed I: Flute, Piccolo, Clarinet & Alto Saxophone
1 Reed II: *Flute, *Piccolo, Clarinet & Alto Saxophone
1 Reed III: *Flute, *Piccolo, Clarinet, *Bass Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone & *Bass Saxophone
1 Reed IV: *Oboe, *English Horn, Clarinet & Tenor Saxophone
1 Reed V: Clarinet, *Bass Clarinet, *Bassoon & Baritone Saxophone

1 Horn
2 Trumpets I & II
1 Trumpet III
1 Trombone I
1 Trombone II
1 Trombone III (Bass Trombone)

1 Harp

2 Percussion I & II:

Timpani (2 Drums)
Snare Drum (Brushes & Sticks)
Bass Drum
Tom Tom
Suspended Cymbal (Soft & Hard Mallets)
Hand Cymbals
Hi-Hat Cymbals
Tam Tam
Temple Blocks
Slide Whistle
Bird Whistle
Train Whistle
Cow Bell
Wood Block

Piano-Celeste (Piano-Conductor’s Score sent with rehearsal material.)

Rehearsal Materials

1       Piano Conductor’s Score
1       Prompt Book for Director
28     Prompt Books for Cast
30     Chorus-Vocal Parts

NOTE: Authorized performance and rehearsal tracks for GYPSY are available from The MT Pit. For more information, visit themtpit.com.

Cast List


(6 female; 2 male)

Rose — the Mother
June — Rose’s daughter
Louise — Rose’s other daughter, later Gypsy, the stripper
Tessie Tura — ballet stripper
Mazeppa — trumpet stripper
Electra — lightbulb stripper

Herbie — candy salesman and Rose’s manager
Tulsa — farm boy, etc. (with others)


Uncle Jocko — vaudeville master of ceremonies
Georgie — Jocko’s assistant
Balloon Girl — auditioning child; non-speaking
Clarinet Boy (Clarence) — auditioning child
Baby June — Rose’s baby daughter
Baby Louise — Rose’s other baby daughter
Pop — Rose’s father
Rich Man — driver of a touring car; non-speaking
Rich Man’s Son — driver’s son; non-speaking
Tap Dancing Urchin — roadside kid; non-speaking
Little Boy Scout — another roadside kid; non-speaking
Weber — theatre manager in Los Angeles
L.A. — farm boy, etc. (with others)
Yonkers — farm boy, etc. (with others)
Angie — farm boy, etc. (with others)
Kringelein — hotel manager in Akron
Mr. Goldstone — representative of the Orpheum Circuit
Miss Cratchitt — secretary at Grantziger’s Palace
Agnes — Hollywood Blonde
Marjorie May — Hollywood Blonde
Dolores — Hollywood Blonde
Thelma — Hollywood Blonde; non-speaking
Gail — Hollywood Blonde; non-speaking
Cigar — theatre manager in Wichita
Pastey — stage manager in Wichita
Offstage Announcer — introducing Gypsy across the country
Renée — Louise’s maid
Phil — Louise’s press agent
Bourgeron-Cochon — photographer


Auditioning Kids & their Mothers
Boy Scouts
Hotel Guests
Restaurant Wait Staff
Front & Rear Cow
Stagehands at Grantziger’s and in Wichita
Other Strippers
Backstage Figures & Showgirls

The original Broadway production had a cast of 44 performers. The show has no dedicated chorus. Some doubling was employed in the minor parts.

Brief History

GYPSY originally played for 702 performances on Broadway at the Broadway Theatre starring Ethel Merman as Rose. It played for 300 performances in London at the Piccadilly Theatre with Angela Lansbury as Rose. This extremely successful show has been revived on Broadway no less than four times: In 1974 with Angela Lansbury, in 1989 with Tyne Daly, in 2003 with Bernadette Peters, and in 2008 with Patti LuPone as Rose.

Awards (1975)

The Tony Award for Actress
2 Theatre World Awards (Zan Charisse and John Sheridan)

Awards (1990)

2 Tony Awards for Revival and Actress
2 Drama Desk Awards for Revival and Actress
2 Outer Critics Circle Awards for Revival and Actress
2 Theatre World Awards (John Lambert and Crista Moore)

Awards (2003)

The Theatre World Award (Tammy Blanchard)

Awards (2008)

3 Tony Awards for Actress, Featured Actress and Featured Actor
3 Drama Desk Awards for Actress, Featured Actress and Featured Actor
2 Outer Critics Circle Awards for Actress and Featured Actress