Wednesday, September 13, 2017


We get our first shot of a Los Angeles theatre in the titles of this 1993 made-for-TV version of "Gypsy." Among the bits of archival burlesque footage is this view, on the left, of the signage of the Burbank Theatre, 548 S. Main St.

The movie, directed by Emile Ardolino, stars Bette Midler as Mama Rose, Peter Riegert as Herbie, Cynthia Gibb as Louise/Gypsy Rose, Jennifer Rae Beck as June and Ed Asner as Pop. The show, based on the memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee, has a book by Arthur Laurents, music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.

The Palace Theatre, 630 S. Broadway, is seen as an unnamed Seattle theatre in the first scene. The show is Uncle Jocko's Kiddie Show with Tony Shalhoub as Jocko. Note that the proscenium murals are draped. We'll be back later with them uncovered when the Palace is used as another theatre.

Mama Rose (Bette Midler) coming down the aisle at Uncle Jocko's Kiddie Show at the Palace.

Mama Rose coming onstage at the Palace.

The State Theatre, 703 S. Broadway, is the the theatre used for Weber's Theatre in Los Angeles. We're looking offstage right at the rigging beyond Mr. Weber. The stage floor looks brand new, doesn't it? It was probably installed for the film.

A murky look downstage right at Weber's. The dimmerboard is back there in the gloom.

A view of the State's rigging behind Weber and Mama Rose. There is a passage behind the pinrail/lockrail at the State. The curtain, fire extinguisher and painting were added for the production. 

Herbie and Mama Rose onstage at Weber's Theatre for the song "Small World."

Another Weber's Theatre shot with the rigging beyond.

A peek offstage left. The stairway in the corner goes to the State's dressing rooms.

As the couple heads offstage left through the scrim we see lights from the State auditorium as well as a bit of seating.

A number from the Baby June act onstage at Weber's. Judging by the height of the the musicians it appears that they didn't uncover the pit.

Next up is is an audition at T.T. Grandziger's Palace Theatre in New York. We're on the phone to the proprietor in his viewing box at the top of the balcony. The shots for this sequence were done at the State Theatre as well.

Herbie peeking on to announce that they are ready to go. We get several other looks offstage left during production numbers revealing a fake wall of brick.

A look offstage right for a peek at the rigging during an audition number.

Another part of the audition number at Grandziger's Palace.

A look at the musicians during the farm number at Grandziger's Palace.

Grandziger's secretary, Baby June, and Mama Rose onstage after the audition. They turn down the job as the theatre owner sees potential in June but Rose fears that it'll be the end of the act.

An hour into the movie a shot of the alley behind the Palace begins the number "All I Need Is The Girl."

A 2014 look up the exit passageway on the south side of the Palace. Photo: Bill Counter

In the alley with Tulsa (Jeffrey Broadhurst) looking south.

A 2017 look south down the alley toward 7th St. Photo: Mike Hume

An alley view looking north. Note they've put a deck down for shooting this sequence -- the truck's wheels are down below the surface Louise and Tulsa are on.

Another alley view looking north. 

The Palace as yet another theatre. Here it's a burlesque theatre in Wichita. Louise and Mama Rose are offstage right. That's the theatre's original dimmerboard on the left.

 Miss Mazeppa (Linda Hart) onstage at the Palace as the burlesque house in Wichita for the number "You Gotta Get a Gimmick."

Another view across the stage at the Palace during the "Gimmick" number. Mazeppa does it with a trumpet.

Gypsy onstage at the Palace as the Diamond Burlesque in Detroit. The number is a reprise of "Let Me Entertain You" that began with her first strip in Wichita. 

The Orpheum, 842 S. Broadway, puts in an appearance as Minsky's Burlesque Theatre.

Gypsy on the runway at the Orpheum.

Mama Rose onstage at the Orpheum for the number "Everything's Coming Up Roses."

Rose and Gypsy at the end of the show's final number.

Thanks to Mike Hume for most of the screenshots. Visit his Historic Theatre Photography site for photos and data about the many theatres he's explored. He has pages devoted to the Palace, Orpheum and State

See the Los Angeles Theatres pages on the State, Orpheum, Palace and Burbank theatres for more history and many photos.

On IMDb: "Gypsy"

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