Leslie Uggams will star as Rose in Gypsy at Connecticut Repertory Theatre.
Leslie Uggams will star as Rose in Gypsy at Connecticut Repertory Theatre.
(© Joseph Moran)

Tony- and Emmy Award-winning actress Leslie Uggams has been announced to star as Rose in Connecticut Repertory Theatre's production of Gypsy: A Musical Fable, running from July 10-20 at the Harriet S. Jorgensen Theatre. The production will mark the first time an African-American actress has ever starred as Rose in an Equity production with a mixed-race cast.

Gypsy has a book by Arthur Laurents, music by Jule Styne, and lyrics Stephen Sondheim. The story is based on the memoirs of the famous striptease artist Gypsy Rose Lee and tells her story as the ultimate stage mother. Through Rose's dream to raise her daughters Louise and June to become stars, she aims to gain fulfillment for her own failed venture into show business.

"We weren't necessarily looking for an actress of color," said Artistic Director Vincent J. Cardinal in a statement, "but rather an incredible talent to play this incredibly challenging role. The actor needed to be able to sing and act brilliantly — this is the King Lear of musical theatre. When we found Leslie Uggams, we were thrilled and honored to have such a legendary talent in this legendary role." Complete casting for CRT's production will be announced soon.