On 15 January, Milan will welcome a new Rose to the stage as Gyspy opens in Italy.
Loretta Goggi has been a household name in Italy for half a century. She made her début in television as a girl and hasn't been far from the small screen or stage since. Starting out as a child actress, she found her talent for singing when she was a small girl, and later a talent for mimicking. Her impressions, especially those of Italian singing icon Mina, are replayed constantly on tv, from her early days in black and white, onwards. During the 70s and 80s Goggi had several successes as a pop singer, but the stage and small screen have always been her true home.
Goggi starred in the Italian première of They're Playing Our Song in 1981, was a memorable Dolly Levi in 1999, and now in this new production of Gyspy she will be the first Italian Rose for, amazingly, the Arthur Laurents' 1959 musical, with music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, has never been presented in Italy.
The producer, M.A.S. (Music, Arts & Show) mounted the original Australian production of Priscilla in Milan last season, complete with LED-lit bus and Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiner's Tony Award winning costumes. This was an exceptional investment in a country where a permanence of more than three months is almost unheard of. Two or three weeks is the usual allotted period in Milan or Rome for a musical, with only a few days in the smaller cities. Touring considerations are essential in Italy, so Priscilla has caused major logistic headaches. Gypsy, however, is an all-Italian affair, with Stefano Genovese directing, and Matteo Piedi's designing sets and costumes, and will surely be more lightweight.
But there is nothing lightweight about Loretta Goggi who has all the credentials necessary to dazzle in one of the most coveted roles of the Broadway stage. She's got no need to “get a gimmick” for hers is genuine and rare talent.
Ya either got it, or ya ain't, and she's got it!
Gypsy runs at Teatro Nuovo, Milan from 15 January to 3 February
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.