Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Miss Gypsy Rose Lee

Not much to say, but some images to share....these are from the life of the inimitable Miss Gypsy Rose Lee.

Research is in full force. First read this weekend. aaahhHH!!!!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Writing My Blues Away....

Or something like that, anyway. I'm in madd R&D and writing mode for my upcoming production Dear Mama, part of SondheimFest. This will be my first self-produced production and is more than a little terrifying.

I've been asked a few times, and must admit it - my actions are chock-full of hubris. Entering my own piece of original writing into a festival dedicated to a Master Playwright - Steven Sondheim - seems a bit absurd. So I shall elaborate.

Dear Mama and its lead character, Ruby, have been a seed of an idea in my mind for years now. It all originates with a conversation my sister (who is also an arts professional) and I had about how strange it is that the pair of us used to watch Gypsy religiously from a rather young age. Now, for anyone who has seen it, stepping back you can understand our train of thought - Gypsy Rose Lee, famous burlesque dancer and early stripper, is the centre piece of the musical (for which Sondheim was lyricist). The show includes dance numbers by strippers, and ultimately a daughter whose mother encourages her to choose burlesque performance over not being on stage at great success.

It is easy to see the parallels between this young starlet, who began performing likely before 5 years old, and the plethora of child stars we see today. From the kids on Dance Moms who have been described as 'prosti-tots' to the frighteningly sexualized performing dolls on Toddlers and Tiaras, and the latest Disney starlet, little girls are more and more a commodity, rather than children.

Dear Mama looks at a fictional young girl who had this sort of childhood....but sees her as an adult, still starved for attention and willing to take major risks to secure the adoration of her audience.

I've been lucky enough to secure the talented and brilliant Megan Andres to dramaturg and direct the piece - we will begin working together soon! Watch for further blogs as the process continues....