Lundskaer-Nielsen, M (2016) An unlikely diva - Imelda Staunton as Mrs. Lovett and Mama Rose. In: Song Stage and Screen XI, 27 - 30 June 2016, City University of New York, New York, USA.

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This paper explores the recent re-interpretation of the iconic role of Mama Rose (Gypsy) by British actress Imelda Staunton. After early success in shows like Guys and Dolls (Adelaide) and Into The Woods (The Baker’s Wife in the London premiere), Staunton deliberately turned away from musicals for fear of typecasting and has since become known for an eclectic range of ‘straight’ theatre and film roles including Vera Drake and Harry Potter. Her recent return to the musical stage in the Chichester Festival Theatre’s productions of Sweeney Todd (2011) and Gypsy (2014) both transferred to the West End to widespread acclaim from both theatre critics and composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim. Drawing on artist interviews as well as performance analysis, this paper will discuss Staunton’s performance in the roles, comparing her interpretations with those of celebrated predecessors (Angela Lansbury, Ethel Merman, Rosalind Russell, Tyne Daly, Patti Lupone). In addition, it will assess the dramaturgical impact of her performance choices and identify the underlying cultural differences between Broadway (where the show was created) and the British subsidised theatre that may have helped to shape this quietly gripping and sometimes startling re-interpretation of one of the most iconic roles within the American musical theatre.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Keywords: Imelda Staunton, Gypsy, Broadway, West End, Musical Theatre
Divisions: College of Liberal Arts
Date Deposited: 13 Jul 2017 10:34
Last Modified: 13 Jul 2017 10:34
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