It is the legendary musical, which follows an overbearing and ambitious mother attempting to break her children into showbusiness.
But as Fife-raised actor Shona White takes on the role of Mama Rose in Gypsy at Pitlochry Festival Theatre, she insists her own parents were the opposite of pushy.
In fact, they tried to put her off showbusiness!
Character ‘ahead of her time’
“Mama Rose is the ultimate pushy stage mum who ultimately wants the best for her girls,” said Shona in an interview with The Courier.
“She’s kind of ahead of her time in the way that she’s striving for female independence in a time when women didn’t really get to live their dream.
“So she may have had the talent and wanted to perform herself.
“But there was no way she could have done it back when she was a wee girl.
“She’s kind of living vicariously through her daughters and facilitating a career in performance for them and touring with them.
“They tour round the country tirelessly seeking fame and fortune.”
What’s Gypsy about?
Gypsy tells the story of the mother and daughters as they travel along the way with this home made act seeking fame and fortune.
Shona describes Mama Rose as a “force of nature”.
But at the same time her heart is “in the right place”.
“It’s a gift of a role,” she said.
“The people who have come before me – Patti LuPone, Bernadette Peters, Bette Middler who I absolutely adore, Imelda Staunton who I saw play it in London.
“They are all incredibly inspirational. They are big shoes to fill!
“There are no parallels to my parents.
“They were not pushy stage parents at all! They were the opposite!
“But they didn’t put me off. I’m still here!”
Shona’s first ‘rep’ season
Shona, who recently featured in The Courier, is doing a few other things at Pitlochry over the summer as well as Gypsy.
She describes it as a “proper rep season” with a company of actors in multiple productions.
She’s playing Mrs Medlock in The Secret Garden and she’s also starring in a series of musical theatre concerts with Ben Stock, who’s playing Herbie in Gypsy.
These are the West End Musical Extravaganza and The Greatest Musicals of All Time.
They’ve been devised and produced alongside Pitlochry as part of the festival season and those will be interspersed between Gypsy and the other plays.
“This is the first time I’ve done a rep season,” she said.
“It’s a big challenge but one I’m ready to take on.
“It also gives us variety. Whereas normally we’d play a role for a certain amount of time and move on to the next one, it is quite exciting to be doing multiple roles at the same time.
“It is a challenge. I hope I don’t get them mixed up!” she laughed.
“But it keeps it fresh and exciting and hopefully something for everyone in the season.”
Shona added that it’s also the first time Gypsy has been performed as an actor-musician show.
This means the actors are actually playing musicians on stage as part of the action.
“That’s another little exciting element which I think the audience will love,” she said.
“This will also be the first time in nearly 20 years that the iconic musical has been staged in Scotland.”
When to see Gypsy at Pitlochry
Gypsy is the opening production of the Pitlochry Festival 2023 season.
It runs from May 19 to September 30.