TV’s Tyne Daly Will Play Mother in ‘Gypsy’ at Center

Times Staff Writer

Tyne Daly of “Cagney and Lacey” TV fame will star in a $3-million revival of “Gypsy” at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa in July as part of a pre-Broadway national tour, co-producer Barry Brown said Tuesday from New York.

The original musical, based on a memoir by burlesque stripper Gypsy Rose Lee, opened on Broadway in 1959 with Ethel Merman in the starring role of Gypsy’s mother. The music is by Jule Styne, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. The show was revived in 1974 with Angela Lansbury as the mother and ran for 9 weeks at the Shubert Theatre in Los Angeles.

Brown, who also produced that revival, said the “Gypsy” tour will begin in Miami in May, with stops in Detroit and St. Louis before arriving in Costa Mesa for the show’s sole West Coast engagement (July 18-23). The tour will continue to Denver and Washington, culminating in a Broadway opening in September.

“Gypsy” replaces “Camelot,” which was dropped from the Center’s 1988-89 Broadway Series when star Richard Harris was said to be ill.


Daly, who has won four Emmys for her role as a police officer on “Cagney and Lacey,” will be making her Broadway musical debut with “Gypsy,” according to her publicist, Marilyn Reiss. The actress is on vacation in Jamaica and could not be reached for comment.

Brown, whose Broadway productions also include “La Cage Aux Folles,” said he got the idea for reviving “Gypsy” with Daly in the mother’s role when he heard her sing on a Dolly Parton TV variety show in February. “I talked to her about it 6 months ago, and she was thrilled,” he said.

Brown noted that Daly is the only “name” star he has signed. “I don’t think we are going after names for the other roles,” he said, including that of Gypsy.

Cast auditions will begin at the end of this month in New York, Reiss said. Daly is scheduled to go into rehearsal in March. Arthur Laurents, who wrote the show’s libretto and directed the 1974 revival, will direct again and is said to be incorporating the original choreography by Jerome Robbins (who directed “Gypsy” in its 1959 incarnation).

The score includes such tunes as “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” and “Let Me Entertain You.” The original Broadway show was a major hit of its time, running for 702 performances and was nominated for 8 Tonys. But it won not one, losing to “Fiorello” as best musical. Merman lost to Mary Martin in “The Sound of Music.”