Barbra Streisand, the EGOT- winning icon, has for some time been aiming to revive the classic musical Gypsy for the big screen. The long-gestating project hit a major snag when it was put in turnaround over at Universal (a distributor that has had recent musical success with the Pitch Perfect franchise) but may be back. Variety reports that STX Entertainment is currently in negotiations with the musical superstar to move forward with Gypsy. If reports are accurate, Streisand would star, produce and help develop the screenplay and Oscar-winning filmmaker Barry Levinson (Rain Man) may come aboard to direct.
STX Entertainment head Adam Fogelson has a history with the project as the film was in development when he was over at Universal. Fogelson stated, ““It’s Barbra Streisand doing one more, if not the last, movie musical of her career.” He also expressed excitement over, “the type of talent that is clamoring to work with her on one of the most famous and satisfying musicals ever.”
One of the most iconic stage musicals of all time, Gypsy chronicles the real-life tale of Gypsy Rose Lee, a legendary burlesque performer who was brought up by a fiercely determined over-protective stage mother – Mama Rose. Mama Rose wanted for nothing but for her young daughters to the hit of vaudeville and the role is considered one of the greatest in musical theater history. The musical, whose book was written by Arthur Laurents and featured a score from Jules Styne and a young Stephen Sondheim, is also highly regarded as one of the best. The score features famous songs including “Let Me Entertain You” and Mama Rose’s iconic anthem “Everything’s Coming Up Roses.”
Ethel Merman made the part immortal in the original Broadway run of the show and since then the likes of Bernadette Peters, Angela Lansbury and Patti LuPone have memorably tackled the part. A film version was made in 1962 with Rosalind Russell portraying Mama Rose and Natalie Wood playing Gypsy Rose Lee; Mervyn LeRoy directed the film and it earned three Oscar nominations. In 1993, a television movie was made with Bette Midler in the leading role, a part that won her a Golden Globe. If plans come together, Streisand, who won an Oscar for her celebrated turn in the classic musical Funny Girl, may be able to put her signature stamp on the iconic part.
Everything may not quite be roses just yet, but STX Entertainment’s interest in Gypsy certainly revives its chances of a big screen appearance. Streisand’s last appearance on screen was in the 2012 comedy The Guilt Trip with Seth Rogen. We shall stay tuned to further developments.