From “Papa, can you hear me” to Mama Rose: Musical-theater fans and Barbra Streisand cultists are plotzing over the news that La Streisand has reportedly met with composer Stephen Sondheim and playwright Arthur Laurents to discuss starring in a film version of “Gypsy,” their classic 1959 musical.
According to a dispatch in yesterday’s NYTimes.com Artsbeat blog, Laurents had also “suggested Tom Hanks to play the role of Herbie, Rose’s love interest and the talent manager of her two daughters, Baby June and Louise. ‘Barbra loved the idea,’” Laurents told the Times. Streisand mouthpiece Dick Guttman confirmed that “there have been conversations”, the Times said.
Streisand and Laurents share a lot of history, according to EW.com — he directed her 1962 Broadway show “I Can Get It for You Wholesale” and wrote 1973′s tearjerker, “The Way We Were. “
Contrary to a report in the New York Post on Wednesday, Laurents told the Times that Streisand would not direct the film, though she had wanted the gig at one point. “Playing Rose is enough to make her happy,” he said. As for Streisand’s age – she’s 69, and the character’s a young mother in the show’s first act – Laurents told the Times he’s not concerned. “First of all, they can do magic in Hollywood,” he told the Times. “Second, does it really matter?”
A 1963 film version of “Gypsy” starred Rosalind Russell and Natalie Wood. LuPone, Bernadette Peters, Tyne Daly, Angela Lansbury, and Ethel Merman have all previously played the role on Broadway, while Bette Midler took on Mama Rose in a 1993 TV production, according to TheAtlantic.com.