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stage dive

Stage Dive: Streisand, Gypsy, and the (Latest) Return of the Big Movie Musical

May we entertain you? Streisand and Sondheim, 1992.

That shudder of unearthly joy you felt rippling through the Gleekosphere yesterday was in response to Barbra Streisand’s announcement confirming that she’ll play Momma Rose in a film adaptation of Gypsy — and may also direct it herself. (It would be her first time back in the feature-film director’s chair since The Mirror Has Two Faces, fifteen years ago — a Malick-size intermission.) It’s a nice way to wash the fermented-diaper aftertaste of Little Fockers out of the nation’s mind, and it might signal an even bigger shift. Considered alongside recent-ish news that a Neil Labute Company (hereafter referred to on this blog as In the Company of Company) is in the works, along with big-screen versions of Wicked, In the Heights, the long-gestating Weinstein-backed Pippin, and more — not to mention NBC’s grown-up reply to Glee, titled Smash — we may be looking at a quick rebirth of Hollywood’s favorite despised genre (after the Western). The last movie-musical renaissance — the one that began roughly circa Chicago — probably peaked with Mamma Mia, then bottomed out ’round about Nine. Maybe rogue fanimator Heidi Jo Gilbert, creator of that instantly beloved “Defying Gravity” storyboard, can get Babsie started with some “Rose’s Turn” concept art. (Suggestion: I think Barbra should start flying on the line “How do you like them eggrolls, Mr. Goldstone?”)

Photo: Ebet Roberts/Redferns