I was perusing the libretto of Gypsy last evening as I realized I haven’t read it in quite some time. Seeing the show onstage tends to give me an excuse not to. However, as I’ve said before, my one major qualm with the 2008-Patti LuPone Gypsy was the alterations made to the libretto. The following items were cut unless otherwise bracketed with the changes made. Some are inconsequential, but there are some moments, particularly the rather uproarious Kringelein scene and the “Small World” reprise that detract from the dimension of Rose.
Act One, Scene Two (“Home Sweet Home – Seattle”)
LOUISE: That’s dog food, Momma.
ROSE: That’s what she thinks. I’m hungry.
LOUISE: Then why didn’t you eat some of our chow mein after the show?
ROSE: Because you two did the work and we gotta save every cent.
Act One, Scene Six (“Happy Birthday – Akron”)
(A knocking on the door)
KRINGELEIN (Off): Madame Rose!
ROSE: I am not cooking in here, Mr. Kringelein. That cow –
KRINGELEIN (Knock): Open this door!
ROSE: I’m dressing. That cow –
KRINGELEIN (Knock): Madame Rose –
ROSE: I’ll call you when I’m finished. That dear fat cow looked me right in the eye and said: “Rose, if you want to get on the Orpheum Circuit, put me in your act.” Children, you know what I’m going to do?
YONKERS: You’re going to pay that crummy cow and not us!
ROSE: I ain’t paying anybody but I’m going to take that cow’s advice! I’m going to call the new act: Dainty June and her Farm Boys. I’m going to get more boys. I’m going to put that cow in the act –
(In the other room, KRINGELEIN – a pompous hotel manager – opens the door quietly, shuts it behind him and tiptoes to the doorway between the two rooms as:) and Chowsie and the monkey. And Louise’s present – if you don’t mind honey –
LOUISE: But Momma, I don’t even know what my present is!
KRINGELEIN (Haughtily): No cooking, Madame Rose?
ROSE: How dare you enter a lady’s boudoir without knocking?
KRINGELEIN (Advancing): Where’s your hot plate?
ROSE: Where’s your search warrant?
KRINGELEIN (Heading toward bathroom): In all the years I have been running a theatrical hotel –
ROSE (Opening corridor door): If you don’t leave, I’m going to scream!
(ONE OF THE BOYS darts to block the bathroom door)
KRINGELEIN (Pointing toward sign): You know the rules. No cooking. No electrical appliances. No – no pets other than small (Pushes kid out of the way) dogs or – (Opens the bathroom door. A little lamb in rubber drawers runs out between his legs and over to LOUISE)
ROSE: Happy birthday, darling!
KRINGELEIN: It’s a GODDAMN ZOO!
ROSE: Profanity in front of my babies! June, get the Bible! Get the Bible!
(People in bathrobes and wrappers etc. begin to appear in the doorway, flowing into the room)
KRINGELEIN: You pack up this dirty menagerie and get out!
ROSE: You’ll have to throw me out, you rotten ANIMAL HATER! (To others) That’s what he is! Send for the SPCA!
KRINGELEIN: Send for the police! I rented these two rooms to one adult and three children! Now I see one adult! 5 pets and 1,2,3,4
ROSE: You counted him twice! (The KIDS are running in and out. SHE turns to the others) It’s a simple little birthday party for my baby –
KRINGELEIN: 1,2,3,4 – STAND STILL!
ROSE: Chow mein. I’d offer you some but there’s only one egg roll –
KRINGELEIN: How many are sleeping in that room?
ROSE: What room?
KRINGELEIN (In doorway between two rooms): THIS room, Madame, THIS room!
ROSE (Pushing him in): There isn’t a soul in this room.
KRINGELEIN: Now you know what I –
ROSE (Closing door behind them): Except you and me. (She lets out a scream as she shoves him down onto the mattress on the floor) Mr. Kringelein, what are you trying to do?!! (Throws pillows and blankets on him) Mr. Kringelein! Stop! Help! Help! (She wrenches her robe open and staggers back into the other room where PEOPLE get a chair for her and ad lib as:) My babies! My babies! MONSTER! Thank you, Gladys. A little birthday party – chow mein – a tiny little cake –
(LOUISE, with her lamb, goes into other room during this. KRINGELEIN is getting out of the snarl of blankets and exits)
HERBIE’S VOICE (From hall): Rose! Rose! Are you all right? (He enters room and pushes his way to ROSE’s side) Rose! What’s happened? Are you ok, honey?
ROSE (Straightening herself): Sure! Where have you – (Then remembering) Herbie. Mr. Kringelein, the hotel manager, he – he tried to – to –
HERBIE (A cynical eye): Again?
(Straightens up and starts for other room)
ROSE: Well, I had to do something Herbie, don’t you dare apologize to him!
Act Two, Scene Two (“The Bottom – Wichita”)
TESSIE: You know, from the way that dame walks, she would have been a damn good stripper in her day.
TESSIE: She’s your mother?
LOUISE. Yes. She’s my mother.]
MAZEPPA (Belligerently): Something wrong with stripping?
[given to Electra]
Act Two, Scene Four
(PASTEY races out. ROSE touches the place where HERBIE kissed her, and then sings:)
SMALL WORLD – REPRISE – ROSE
Lucky, you’re a man who likes children
That’s and important sign.
Lucky, I’m a woman with children –
Funny, small and funny –
(ROSE gets up and slowly walks to the white gloves. She has them in her hand, and is glaring at them as LOUISE comes out and takes the gloves from her. ROSE watches her start to put them on, the speaks quietly, as though dazed…)
ROSE (Softly): You look beautiful!
TESSIE (Runs on with an old fur stole which she wraps around LOUISE): For luck, honey!
ROSE: Are you nervous?
ROSE: I said Are you nervous, Baby?
LOUISE: No, Mother.
Act Two, Scene Five (Louise’s Dressing Room)
ROSE: You won’t be ready when vaudeville comes back.
LOUISE: No, I’ll be dead. (Then, indicating the furs she has thrown on a chair) Renee, tell Sam he can lock up the animals for the night.
Act Two, Scene Six (Backstage)
ROSE (Tough with herself, too, she shakes her head) If I could’ve been, I would’ve been. And that’s show business… Listen. About that school – I could open one – for kids, like you said. Only – kids grow up. And twice is enough… I guess I did do it for me.
LOUISE: Why, Mother?
ROSE: Just wanted to be noticed.
LOUISE: Like I wanted you to notice me. (ROSE turns and looks at her) I still do, Momma.
(She holds out her arms to ROSE, who hesitates then comes running to her like a child. LOUISE pats her, kisses her hair as she says) It’s ok, Momma. It’s ok, Rose.
(ROSE clutches her, then moves away. Forces a smile as she turns back)
[They’ve streamlined this exchange, taking out “Listen. About that school…. And twice is enough” as well as dropping the line “I still do, Momma.”]
ROSE (Stops moving): Only it was you and me, wearing exactly the same gown. It was an ad for Minsky – and the headline said: (She traces the name in the air)
(Louise gives her a look; ROSE catches it, and moving her hand up to give LOUISE top billing, says:)
And HER DAUGHTER, GYPSY!
(They both begin to laugh as they walk off and – )
[The change here comes in the staging and characterization. As originally written there is a sense of understanding between the two of them and they walk off to the party together. In the revival, Rose is still in the midst of her delusions as she says this. Louise laughs, shakes her head and walks off in hysterics, leaving Rose onstage in her own world of hopelessness, maniacally reaching for the out of reach, broken down “ROSE” sign. The orchestration has been slightly altered for this sequence, with the piano now starting the final phrase of “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” for the curtain.]