I would rank Gypsy as the best "show biz" musical ever. It stands up overtime because it is more about the people than show biz. It is about how you can't live your life through your children and that eventually your kids will become responsible for you. All told through the saga of how Gypsy Rose Lee got to become a stripper and the metaphor that she doesn't become who she is until she sheds her ties to her mother.
Rose always dominates Gypsy but in Patti LuPone (who does give a star performance) Rose takes a back seat to the drama of the other characters. This production is so well directed by Arthur Laurents who should know the material since he wrote it.
Here are 3 examples of what is brilliant about this Gypsy...
1. All the vaudeville acts look like that were staged by the same limited mind, Rose. She insists that all the inflections of Baby June, Dainty June, and Louise are one and the same.
2. In the Tulsa/Louise scene Herbie has some dialogue and from the physical staging there is no physical contact between Herbie and Louise. After all these years there is no closeness...so when in the next scene Rose focuses all her attention on making Louise a star...her only refuge is Herbie as Rose sings "Ev'rythings coming up Roses".
3. In Rose's turn you don't know if Rose will get through the number. She is having a break down, she's fragile, and its shows.
There are more powerful things about this Gypsy...but I won't spoil it...hopefully it will tour...I want to see it again. If Laurents did these great things with Gypsy his upcoming West Side Story revival should be interesteing.