Columnist Defends Streisand In Gypsy

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As you know, Barbra Streisand is going ahead with her plan to play Mama Rose in another movie of Gypsy, the musical about the tomboy who becomes a star largely thanks to the stage mother she ends up wanting to go away.

Well, there's been a lot of cynicism about Babs, who's turning 70, playing this role, especially in close-up.

But Liz Smith says 70 "is just a number," and it'll be interesting to see what the great star comes up with.

I agree. But on the allthatchat board, they're still not convinced.

Says one poster:

"Think of the song 'Some People.' There is a certain feistiness and a certain immaturity. This just can not be believable in a 70-year-old woman. It just doesn't work.

"Patti LuPone herself admitted that at 58 she was nearly too old to play Rose. I'm sorry, I just can't see Barbra at this point stealing that gold plaque from her father for 88 bucks. And how old is that father going to be? 100? Come on, people."

To which I say:

100 is just a number!



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32 comments
Nick
Nick

I can't think of a bigger legend dead or alive than Streisand.. hands down! With that being said, I think she will make it her own in a way that only she would be able to. I think it would be a major mistake to underestimate her on this project. Besides, as legendary as this musical is and all the great women who have played in it, Barbra trumps it all. 

vince
vince

You doubters are going to eat your words! How many singers at 70 sound nearly as great as Barbra? NONE! Her screen presence is fantastic as well.

Bibi
Bibi

It's true we can't deny her success record. It's true we've all been fans. But it's also true that we've cringed at some of her missteps (Star is Born, anyone?) and have deep-seated fears about this Gypsy thing. But bring it on. it'll be great for water cooler talk.

Southern Dave
Southern Dave

In the words of Mama Rose herself (via S. Sondheim):

"You either have it --Or you've had it."

MikeKendall
MikeKendall

Oh Please - This broad was famous against all odds in the 1960's, she was more famous against even tougher odds in the 1970's. She remained just as famous for another 30 years and she's done that through sheer talent, originality and quality work. She'll be great. Regardless of her age there is not one single actress or actor today who comes even close to capturing her screen presence. The reason your all chattering about her is because she matters - still - after all these years - and only a handful of films - and there isn't anybody, no matter how negative you may be, that is going to stop her from doing what she does best. They didn't want her for "Funny Girl", or "The Way We Were" either. They didn't think she be good on TV - and yet they still talk about her first shows as some of the best ever  presented. They didn't want to sign her at Columbia and here we are 50 years later and they just did it again - except this time she is not some unknown fakakta folk singer - She's Barbra Streisand the biggest most successful female recording artist on their label. Barbra never needed anybody's approval but her own. She certainly doesn't need the approval of anoyone here. She's the only star we've got - in any medium. The rest try but don't quiet measure up. So lighten up and get comfortable. It's gonna be a lot of fun seeing Barbra as Mama Rose standing in front of those 3 old strippers - Patti LuPone, Bernadette Peters and Tyne Daily as they sing "You Gotta Have a Gimmick" If Bernadett can't do it then get Amanda LaPore. Somebody call David LaChapple to director here.

The rest of you hoping to see a train wreck should feel free to watch Moma Mia, Nine, Evita, New York New York - the list goes on.

Jeffrey Sweet
Jeffrey Sweet

The least I worry about this project is that Streisand will be good and persuasive.  I'm not nuts about the choice of screenwriter (he doesn't have a vulgar bone in his writing body and GYPSY is a celebration of vulgarity so vital it rises to art).  And I'm hoping it will be directed by someone who actually lets a number run without 30,000 cuts.  (Woody Allen's musical was refreshing for the lack of cuts in the numbers.  I would nominate the "Hooray, for Captain Spaulding" number as being one of the best put on film in years.)  What was fun about Streisand in MEET THE FOCHERS was that she put aside the self-reverent "this is art" pose and looked spontaneous and played with the others in the team.  If that Streisand shows up for GYPSY, I expect to enjoy myself.

Allen Firth
Allen Firth

Maybe she should just do "Funny Grandma" instead.

music1028
music1028

It's not a documentary for crying out loud.  Streep played Sophie's mother in Mamma Mia and she was about 20 years older than the part called for.

Babs has the singing and acting chops and she'll make a great Mama Rose!

mjm
mjm

isn't Mama Rose supposed to be old?

Babs will knock it out of the park.

now, if ALW get the ball rolling on the Sunset Blvd. remake w/ Liza (*oops did I just reveal something?*)

Southern Dave
Southern Dave

Actually, I'm sort of looking forward to seeing  Mama Rose  back-lit and front-lit, hell, with every light in Hollywood wiping away whatever tiny lines Barbra has allowed to remain on her face.

And this just in -- Papa's home will be one designed by Frank Lloyd Wright!

Her blanket coat by Vera Wang!

"Rose's Turn" sung on a tugboat in New York harbor!

Movielover
Movielover

Though Babs is 70, she's not going to play 70.  It's not going to be grand mama Rose.  With all the skill, tech and $ available to do a big Babs movie, they'll make her look 50, which is about right.  She can still sing like a powerhouse.  I am all for Babs and other art treasures doing as much (quality) stuff as they can.  They won't last forever!  Like Betty White doing a sitcom now is brilliant.  I wish Joan Collins would do something, but I guess she would have to agree to do something that showed her near-age just a bit.

Whmsy
Whmsy

This would have been a great idea in 1974.

Rc61austin
Rc61austin

Grandmamma Rose is more apt for Barbra in "Gypsy."

latenitebump
latenitebump

well! diana ross played dorothy in the wiz!hollywood is about breaking boundaries!

Bwaybill
Bwaybill

The real problem here is that the screenwriter is the guy who wrote Downton Abbey and Gosford Park! Just the person you want to write a movie about strippers in vaudeville.

Muscato
Muscato

Well, Bernhardt (Sarah, of course, not Sandra) was playing teenagers well into her 70s.  But she didn't have to deal with HD closeups...

You'd think she'd be content, having already ruined Hello, Dolly!

Larry
Larry

When you're as old as Liz Smith, 70 is a youngster.

Bwaybill
Bwaybill

As if the Roz Russell version wasn't bad enough.

Pooch
Pooch

This just won't work. Period.

Oil
Oil

We know that. But she can't play a woman in  her 40s!!!

Sanders
Sanders

Ms Streisand, why are you calling yourself MikeKendall?

Gustav
Gustav

Maybe, but the "not a documentary" argument doesn't always hold. We still have to believe the characters and the story. Meryl reads as many years younger than she really is. Does Barbra? If she doesn't, then her having young daughters will look ABSURD.

Ulu
Ulu

Oh, yeah, THAT would make a big box office film. [rolls eyes]

Parvenu
Parvenu

Yeah, and that was a terrible movie and a big bomb, as well as Diana's last feature film.

Movielover
Movielover

Her Dolly wasn't bad, it just wasn't Carol Channing (the best Dolly).  Babs' Dolly holds up pretty well.  I like all that singing and dancing even if it never looks close to how people really are.

Movielover
Movielover

Roz was actually a good Mama Rose.  She must have been a great gal.  Sure loved her in The Women and Mame.

Movielover
Movielover

You're something of a pessimist.  If you give Babs the pieces, she'll be putting it together.  Everything depends on execution.

MikeKendall
MikeKendall

LOL - That was good! I am a fan but not a rabid fan. Her career successes are all public record. There are a lot of singers & actors that aspire to greatness. But this woman actually is and whether you like or or not you can't deny her extraordinary success record. Only a few have "it". She's got "it" in spades.

greg
greg

I'm a Streisand fan, but I worry about the vocal demands of the role. While history will judge her favorably as the best female vocalist during her prolonged prime - 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s, the pipes don't have the same strength now. Her acting is not the problem. She has come up with a rich cavalcade of credible characterizations through the years. She'll pull this one through, no doubt - with surprise naunces, textures and reading at that.. It's her singing that I'm apprehensive about. Her instrument has been kinda smokey and rusty in her last 4 albums.

Wings
Wings

Well it's amazing what they can do in the recording studio.

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