PBS’ ‘Great Performances’ to Air Award Winning ‘Gypsy’ Revival Starring Imelda Staunton

Imelda Staunton in "Gypsy" (Photo: Johan Persson)

Exciting news for fans of British theater! PBS’s Great Performances will be broadcasting the recent revival production of classic American musical Gypsy starring Imelda Staunton for US audiences this Fall.

Gypsy tells the story of ambitious show business mother Rose, who treks across America with her daughters Baby June and Louise in search of success with their homespun vaudeville act. The show is loosely based on the 1957 memoirs of famous burlesque entertainer Gypsy Rose Lee, and features lyrics by the great Stephen Sondheim and music by Jule Styne.

Staunton, who is probably best known to American audiences as the terrifying Dolores Umbridge in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, plays Mama Rose and turns the overbearing stage mother thing up to eleven, channeling all sorts of rage, frustration and sadness into the role. She’s joined by a great supporting cast, including Doctor Who’s Peter Davison and Sherlock’s Lara Pulver.

This production of Gypsy broke box office records during its limited run in 2015, was nominated for eight Laurence Olivier Awards (the British version of the Tony Awards) and won four, including Best Musical Revival, Best Actress in a Musical for Staunton and Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical for Pulver.

Gypsy will be broadcast as part of the annual PBS Fall Arts Festival, which kicks off on October 21. There’s no firm airdate yet, but it’ll be sometime in that “Fall” window.

Get a sneak peek at some of the show in this promotional clip: 


The BBC originally broadcast the stage version of the show last December, after its run at the Savoy Theatre had closed. If you want to spoil yourself a little bit, you can watch the company’s performance of “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” from this year’s Olivier Awards ceremony on You Tube.

Sidebar: I was lucky enough to see this show on a trip to London last year, and I can tell you: all those glowing reviews were right. The hype is real. This Gypsy is phenomenal, and Staunton gave one of the most incredible stage performances I’ve ever seen (and I go to a lot of theater). Let me put it this way: I’d never given anyone a standing ovation in the middle of a show before, not until I saw this. Staunton is that good.

So, mark your calendars for Fall 2016 – and more information on a firm airdate once that’s settled.

Obsessed with Gypsy? Curious to see Staunton sing? Did you see the original production? Hit the comments and let’s talk about it. 

Lacy Baugher

Lacy's love of British TV is embarrassingly extensive, but primarily centers around evangelizing all things Doctor Who, and watching as many period dramas as possible.

Digital media type by day, she also has a fairly useless degree in British medieval literature, and dearly loves to talk about dream poetry, liminality, and the medieval religious vision. (Sadly, that opportunity presents itself very infrequently.) York apologist, Ninth Doctor enthusiast, and unabashed Ravenclaw. Say hi on Threads or Blue Sky at @LacyMB. 

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