Following a major building refurbishment, the 2014 season opened with much anticipation after an 18 month closure. The summer musical caused particular excitement, with the announcement that Imelda Staunton would return to CFT to star in Gypsy, another Sondheim musical following the success of Sweeney Todd in 2011.
The musical is based on the 1957 memoirs of striptease artist Gypsy Rose Lee, and her ambitious mother, Rose (played by Staunton). Rose presents one of the most emotionally complex and memorable characters in musical theatre; the unwavering manager mother looking to make stars of her two daughters. With its mix of Broadway numbers, comedy and endearing characters - typical of Sondheim - the production was a huge success, winning the UK Theatre Award for Best Musical Production in 2014, and transferred to the West End's Savoy Theatre in 2015. It was nominated for eight Laurence Olivier Awards at the 2016 ceremony, winning four, including Best Actress in a Musical (Staunton) and Best Musical Revival - the most awards won by a single production in that year. The production was also filmed and broadcast on BBC Four (2015), PBS' Great Performances in the US (2016), and was recently added to Netflix UK (2021).
Gypsy by Stephen Sondheim, 2014. Production photographs by Johan Persson
Backstage footage 'Little Lamb set change sequence' Gypsy 2014
This video footage shows the complex backstage work to make it look seamless on stage
Imelda Staunton receiving an Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical 2016