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Gypsy, one of the best Broadway musicals of all time, continues its revival at the St. James Theatre, with Linda Lavin replacing Tyne Daly in the starring role. On the night I went to see Lavin, she had been replaced by her standby, Jana Robbins, and so I enjoyed the rare pleasure of seeing a star in formation. Understudies are constrained by the ways in which a production has been tailored to the performers for whom they step in. Other members of the cast depend on a stand-in to generate a close facsimile of the emotional aura to which they have tuned their own performances. Often I thought I could see the ghost of Tyne Daly (whom Robbins has understudied since Gypsy opened last November), but when Robbins was free to command the stage in the show-stopping solos at the end of each act, she was terrific in her own right.

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Title Annotation:St. James Theater, New York City
Author:Disch, Thomas M.
Publication:The Nation
Article Type:Theater Review
Date:Nov 12, 1990
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