Regarded by many theater professionals as the greatest musical ever created, GYPSY is the ultimate tale of an ambitious stage mother fighting for her daughters’ success… while secretly yearning for her own. Set all across America in the 1920’s, when vaudeville was dying and burlesque was born, Arthur Laurents’ landmark show explores the world of two-bit show business with brass, humor, heart, and sophistication.

The celebrated score by Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim boasts one glorious hit after another, including: “Let Me Entertain You,” “Some People,” “You’ll Never Get Away from Me,” “If Momma Was Married,” “All I Need Is the Girl,” “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” “You Gotta Get A Gimmick,” “Small World,” and “Together Wherever We Go.”

Music samples provided courtesy of Angel Records and Warner/Chappell, Music Inc.

Authorized performance and rehearsal tracks for GYPSY are available from The MT Pit. For more information, visit

  • Synopsis
  • Credits
  • Orchestration
  • Materials
  • Cast
  • History
  • Musical Numbers
  • Upcoming
  • Act I

    After a rousing Overture, the show opens at a vaudeville theatre in Seattle. Sisters Baby June and Baby Louise are auditioning for Uncle Jocko’s variety act (“Let Me Entertain You”) but they’re interrupted by an offstage voice yelling, “Sing out, Louise!” Rose Hovick, the girls’ overbearing stage mother, enters and tries to intimidate Uncle Jocko into hiring them. When the girls lose out to a balloon-adorned tap dancer, Rose bursts the girl’s balloons and drags her daughters back home. Rose asks her father for some money to create a newer, much bigger vaudeville act. When her father refuses, Rose storms out, stealing his gold plaque to finance a trip to Los Angeles (“Some People”).

    In L.A., Rose meets mild-mannered Herbie, whom she flirtatiously entices to manage the girls’ act (“Small World”). With Herbie’s help, Rose creates a new act starring June, supported by shy Louise and a group of dancing boys (“Baby June and Her Newsboys”). As the act tours the small-time circuit, the girls gradually get older, but their act never changes. One night, as Rose and all the kids crowd into a cheap hotel room to celebrate Louise’s birthday, Herbie introduces Rose to Mr. Goldstone of the more reputable Orpheum Circuit. Rose, invigorated by the opportunity, feverishly caters to her guest (“Have An Eggroll, Mr. Goldstone”). Louise, feeling forgotten, privately celebrates her birthday with her pet lamb (“Little Lamb”).

    The act, reworked as “Dainty June and Her Farmboys,” continues to tour. In a Chinese restaurant in New York, Herbie proposes marriage to Rose, but she is more focused on show business. Herbie threatens to leave them someday, but Rose laughs it off, telling him, “You’ll Never Get Away From Me.” A powerful producer offers June a contract, provided she goes to school, takes acting lessons, and keeps her mother far away. But Rose adamantly refuses the contract, and the girls despair at her behavior, dreaming of a normal life (“If Momma Was Married”).

    The act continues to tour, but June and the boys have grown too old. One boy, Tulsa, confides in Louise that he plans to branch out on his own (“All I Need Is The Girl”). Louise is smitten, but she soon finds a note from June saying June and Tulsa have run off together. Rose is stunned by the betrayal. Herbie suggests they give up show business and get married, but she refuses. With sudden intensity, Rose turns her focus on Louise, insisting that Louise, not June, is the key to their success (“Everything’s Coming Up Roses”).

    Act II

    Months later, little has changed. Rose leads a miserable rehearsal of “Madame Rose’s Toreadorables,” which is really a reworking of the old act, with girls replacing the boys and Louise replacing June — complete with blonde wig. Exasperated, Louise rips off the wig and tells Rose she’s not her sister. Rose reassures her, and along with Herbie, they sing “Together Wherever We Go”.

    Herbie gets the new act, now dubbed “Rose Louise and Her Hollywood Blondes,” a two-week booking. When they arrive at the venue, they quickly realize it’s a burlesque house, and Rose refuses to let Louise perform. Louise, recognizing that they’re broke and need the money, convinces Rose to relent. The three broken-down strippers sharing Louise’s dressing room tell her “You Gotta Get a Gimmick.”

    Louise performs her usual act, and Rose finally agrees to marry Herbie when the contract is over. As they pack to leave, the theatre manager announces that the star attraction has been arrested for soliciting, and Rose immediately responds, “My daughter can do it!” Rose, manic with ambition, begins planning costumes and music for Louise’s new act. Herbie, disgusted and fed up, quietly leaves her. Despite Louise’s stage fright, Rose forces her onto the stage. Louise begins a shy rendition of “Let Me Entertain You,” but she gradually gains confidence and her simple act evolves into into a full strip routine. Over time, reserved Louise transforms herself into a burlesque superstar, the glamorous and confident Gypsy Rose Lee.

    In Louise’s dressing room at Minsky’s in New York, the starlet entertains reporters and photographers. Rose, realizing she’s no longer needed, storms out of the dressing room, embittered and hurt. Alone on an empty stage, Rose asks, “Why did I do it? What did it get me?” and she finally lets her ambition loose, belting out a huge number of her own (“Rose’s Turn”). As Rose bows to an empty house, Louise applauds and says, “You really would have been something, Mother.” They reconcile, and Rose starts telling Louise about her new “dream.” As mother and daughter exit together, Rose takes one last look behind her at the runway lights, but they quickly darken and the curtain falls.

    A Musical Fable

    Book by Arthur Laurents

    Music by Jule Styne      Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

    Suggested by the memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee

    Original production by David Merrick & Leland Hayward

    Entire production originally directed and
    choreographed by Jerome Robbins

    Such credits to the authors for all purposes shall be in type size equal to or greater than that of any other credits except for that of the star(s) above the title. In the programs, the credits shall appear on the title page thereof.

    The title page of the program shall contain the following announcement in type size at least one-half the size of the authors’ credits:

    is presented by arrangement with
    Tams-Witmark, A Concord Theatricals Company

    Additionally, you agree to include the above language hyperlinked to on all websites on which you promote the play.

  • NOTE: Authorized performance and rehearsal tracks for GYPSY are available from The MT Pit. For more information, visit

    Full Instrumentation

    (* indicates optional Reed instrument)

    2 Violin A
    1 Violin B
    1 Viola
    1 Cello
    1 Bass

    1 Reed I: Flute, Piccolo, Clarinet & Alto Saxophone
    1 Reed II: *Flute, *Piccolo, Clarinet & Alto Saxophone
    1 Reed III: *Flute, *Piccolo, Clarinet, *Bass Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone & *Bass Saxophone
    1 Reed IV: *Oboe, *English Horn, Clarinet & Tenor Saxophone
    1 Reed V: Clarinet, *Bass Clarinet, *Bassoon & Baritone Saxophone

    1 Horn
    2 Trumpets I & II
    1 Trumpet III
    1 Trombone I
    1 Trombone II
    1 Trombone III (Bass Trombone)

    1 Harp

    2 Percussion I & II:

    Timpani (2 Drums)
    Snare Drum (Brushes & Sticks)
    Bass Drum
    Tom Tom
    Suspended Cymbal (Soft & Hard Mallets)
    Hand Cymbals
    Hi-Hat Cymbals
    Tam Tam
    Temple Blocks
    Slide Whistle
    Bird Whistle
    Train Whistle
    Cow Bell
    Wood Block

    Piano-Celeste (Piano-Conductor’s Score sent with rehearsal material.)

  • Rehearsal Materials

    2       Piano/Conductor Scores
    20     Libretto/Vocal Books

    NOTE: Authorized performance and rehearsal tracks for GYPSY are available from The MT Pit. For more information, visit

  • Principals

    (6 female; 2 male)

    Rose — the Mother
    June — Rose’s daughter
    Louise — Rose’s other daughter, later Gypsy, the stripper
    Tessie Tura — ballet stripper
    Mazeppa — trumpet stripper
    Electra — lightbulb stripper

    Herbie — candy salesman and Rose’s manager
    Tulsa — farm boy, etc. (with others)


    Uncle Jocko — vaudeville master of ceremonies
    Georgie — Jocko’s assistant
    Balloon Girl — auditioning child; non-speaking
    Clarinet Boy (Clarence) — auditioning child
    Baby June — Rose’s baby daughter
    Baby Louise — Rose’s other baby daughter
    Pop — Rose’s father
    Rich Man — driver of a touring car; non-speaking
    Rich Man’s Son — driver’s son; non-speaking
    Tap Dancing Urchin — roadside kid; non-speaking
    Little Boy Scout — another roadside kid; non-speaking
    Weber — theatre manager in Los Angeles
    L.A. — farm boy, etc. (with others)
    Yonkers — farm boy, etc. (with others)
    Angie — farm boy, etc. (with others)
    Kringelein — hotel manager in Akron
    Mr. Goldstone — representative of the Orpheum Circuit
    Miss Cratchitt — secretary at Grantziger’s Palace
    Agnes — Hollywood Blonde
    Marjorie May — Hollywood Blonde
    Dolores — Hollywood Blonde
    Thelma — Hollywood Blonde; non-speaking
    Gail — Hollywood Blonde; non-speaking
    Cigar — theatre manager in Wichita
    Pastey — stage manager in Wichita
    Offstage Announcer — introducing Gypsy across the country
    Renée — Louise’s maid
    Phil — Louise’s press agent
    Bourgeron-Cochon — photographer


    Auditioning Kids & their Mothers
    Boy Scouts
    Hotel Guests
    Restaurant Wait Staff
    Front & Rear Cow
    Stagehands at Grantziger’s and in Wichita
    Other Strippers
    Backstage Figures & Showgirls

    The original Broadway production had a cast of 44 performers. The show has no dedicated chorus. Some doubling was employed in the minor parts.

  • GYPSY originally played for 702 performances on Broadway at the Broadway Theatre starring Ethel Merman as Rose. It played for 300 performances in London at the Piccadilly Theatre with Angela Lansbury as Rose. This extremely successful show has been revived on Broadway no less than four times: In 1974 with Angela Lansbury, in 1989 with Tyne Daly, in 2003 with Bernadette Peters, and in 2008 with Patti LuPone as Rose.

    Awards (1975)

    The Tony Award for Actress
    2 Theatre World Awards (Zan Charisse and John Sheridan)

    Awards (1990)

    2 Tony Awards for Revival and Actress
    2 Drama Desk Awards for Revival and Actress
    2 Outer Critics Circle Awards for Revival and Actress
    2 Theatre World Awards (John Lambert and Crista Moore)

    Awards (2003)

    The Theatre World Award (Tammy Blanchard)

    Awards (2008)

    3 Tony Awards for Actress, Featured Actress and Featured Actor
    3 Drama Desk Awards for Actress, Featured Actress and Featured Actor
    2 Outer Critics Circle Awards for Actress and Featured Actress

  • Act I

    1. Overture – Orchestra
    2. Rose’s Entrance: “Let Me Entertain You” – Baby June & Baby Louise
    2a. Scene Change: Let Me Entertain You – Orchestra
    3. “Some People” – Rose
    4. Seattle To Los Angeles—Reprise: “Some People” – Rose & Boy Scouts
    4a. Scene Change: Some People – Orchestra
    5. “Small World” – Rose & Herbie
    6. “Baby June And Her Newsboys” – Newsboys
    6a. Let Me Entertain You” – Baby June
    6b. Incidental: Let Me Entertain You – Orchestra
    6c. Recitation And Military Routine – Orchestra
    6d. The Scene Continues: Let Me Entertain You – Orchestra
    6e. Military Routine (Part II) – Orchestra
    6f. Change of Scene – Orchestra
    7. “Mr. Goldstone” – Rose, Herbie, & Kids
    8. “Little Lamb” – Louise
    8a. Change of Scene – Orchestra
    9. “You’ll Never Get Away From Me” – Rose & Herbie
    9a. Scene Change: You’ll Never Get Away From Me – Orchestra
    10. “Farm Sequence” – June, Farm Boys, & Cow
    10a. “Broadway” – June & Boys
    10b. Scene Change: Some People – Orchestra
    11. “If Momma Was Married” – June & Louise
    11a. Scene Change: Montage – Orchestra
    12. “All I Need Is The Girl” – Tulsa
    12a. All I Need Is The Girl (Dance) – Orchestra
    12b. Scene Change: Montage – Orchestra
    13. “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” – Rose

    Act II

    14. Entr’acte – Orchestra
    15. “Toreadorables” – Girls
    15a. Stars and Stripes – Orchestra
    16. “Together Wherever We Go” – Rose, Herbie, & Louise
    16a. Encore: “Together Wherever We Go” – Rose, Herbie, & Louise
    17. “You Gotta Get A Gimmick” – Mazeppa, Electra, & Tessie
    17a. Scene Change: You’ll Never Get Away From Me – Orchestra
    18. Incidental: Act Two, Scene Four – Orchestra
    18a. Reprise: Small World – Orchestra
    18b. Incidental: The Scene Continues – Orchestra
    19. “Gypsy Strip Routine” – Louise & Showgirls
    19a. Scene change: Let Me Entertain You – Orchestra
    20. Incidental – Orchestra
    21. Rose’s Turn” – Rose & Orchestra Members
    22. Curtain Music – Orchestra
    22a. Curtain Calls – Orchestra
    23. Exit Music – Orchestra

  • Find upcoming performances near you.

    Search for performances near you
    Organization City, State First Performance Last Performance
    Weinstein JCC Richmond, VA 12/12/2019 12/22/2019
    Lake Worth Playhouse Lake Worth, FL 01/16/2020 02/02/2020
    Little Theatre Off Broadway Grove City, OH 01/17/2020 02/02/2020
    Wayzata High School Minneapolis, MN 02/21/2020 02/29/2020
    MunOpCo Music Theatre Allentown, PA 02/29/2020 03/08/2020
    TheatreZone Naples, FL 03/05/2020 03/15/2020
    Loveland Stage Company Loveland, OH 03/06/2020 03/22/2020
    Footlight Players Michigan City, IN 03/06/2020 03/22/2020
    Two Twisted Sisters Productions Bend, OR 03/12/2020 03/29/2020
    Altoona Community Theatre Altoona, PA 04/30/2020 05/03/2020
    Tantallon Community Players Fort Washington, MD 05/01/2020 05/10/2020
    Arlington Friends Of The Drama Arlington, MA 05/01/2020 05/17/2020
    Music Box Players Swoyersville, PA 05/02/2020 05/17/2020
    Shaw Festival Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON 05/06/2020 10/18/2020
    Stockton Civic Theatre Stockton, CA 06/17/2020 07/12/2020
    Vintage Theatre Aurora, CO 06/19/2020 08/02/2020
    Anacortes Community Theatre Anacortes, WA 09/25/2020 10/24/2020