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Imelda Staunton reveals 2018 Broadway plans for Gypsy

Imelda Staunton Imelda Staunton
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Imelda Staunton has revealed that the London production of Gypsy is being lined up for a Broadway run in 2018.

Speaking as part of The Stage and Digital Theatre’s interview series, Theatre Lives, Staunton also revealed she had six months of singing lessons to prepare for the role.

The show originally opened in Chichester in 2014, prior to a London run, and Staunton said she had to “up her game” for the musical.

“I didn’t want people to say: ‘She can act it but she can’t really sing it.’ I knew those songs demanded a strength and a bigness,” she said, adding that she “underestimated” the scale of the role.

She confirmed that a Broadway run was being planned for 2018.

Staunton, who spent the first six years of her career working in repertory theatre, also aired her views on current graduates, who she said were more likely to leave drama school and work in film and television, or abroad.

She said: “Drama students today have very different prospects, and much better prospects. All that happened after drama school was hopefully you went to rep theatre, that was it.”

“You didn’t go to London, you certainly didn’t make films, you didn’t go to America, or to make television, you just went to rep theatre,” she added.

However, Staunton, who has won four Olivier awards for her stage work and a BAFTA for her role as Vera Drake in Mike Leigh’s 2004 film of the same name, went on to say that her time in rep had given her the opportunity to practise her craft “without being overexposed and chucked on the rubbish heap”.

Staunton continued that, because of the demands it makes on her life, she has become more selective about the theatre roles she takes on.

“Theatre is so demanding. I think now I’m really picking and choosing. That’s really demanding on my life, so I’ll pick the big ones but they’ll be few and far between,” she said.

Her upcoming roles include Martha in a West End revival of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and the National Theatre production of Follies, both opening in 2017.

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