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Monday, June 24, 2024

Audra McDonald to Star as Rose in Broadway Revival of “Gypsy”

Audra McDonald, the celebrated Broadway star with more competitive Tony Awards than any other performer, is set to play the iconic role of Rose in a Broadway revival of “Gypsy.” The production, directed by George C. Wolfe and choreographed by Camille A. Brown, will begin previews on November 21 and officially open on December 19 at the Majestic Theater. This theater has been undergoing renovations since the closure of “The Phantom of the Opera” last year, which had an impressive 35-year run.

McDonald’s connection to “Gypsy” dates back to her childhood. Growing up in Fresno, California, she performed in a dinner theater production of the musical when she was just 10 years old. She played one of the children in “Uncle Jocko’s Kiddie Show,” and since then, the musical has remained a significant part of her aspirations.

The role of Rose, a domineering stage mother ravenous for fame on behalf of her daughters or perhaps herself, is one of the most coveted roles in musical theater. The character was first brought to life by Ethel Merman in the 1959 Broadway premiere. Since then, the role has been performed by a series of esteemed actresses, including Angela Lansbury, Tyne Daly, Linda Lavin, Bernadette Peters, Patti LuPone, Rosalind Russell (in the film adaptation), and Bette Midler (in a television version). McDonald, who has previously sung from the musical’s score in her concerts, will now join this illustrious list.

Director George C. Wolfe, who has previously worked with McDonald in the 2016 Broadway production of “Shuffle Along” and in the Netflix film “Rustin,” expressed excitement about the collaboration. Wolfe, a Tony Award-winning director for “Angels in America: Millennium Approaches” and “Bring in da Noise, Bring in da Funk,” is also receiving a special Tony Award for lifetime achievement this year. Wolfe shared that McDonald asked him to direct “Gypsy” and noted a personal connection to Arthur Laurents, one of the musical’s authors, who was his teacher and an early supporter of his career.

Audra McDonald’s return to Broadway in “Gypsy” promises to be a significant theatrical event, blending her extraordinary talent with one of musical theater’s most demanding and rewarding roles. As anticipation builds, audiences can look forward to experiencing McDonald’s interpretation of Rose, guided by Wolfe’s unique directorial vision.

Jonathan James
Jonathan James
I serve as a Senior Executive Journalist of The National Era
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