Imelda Staunton in <i>Sweeney Todd</i>
Imelda Staunton in Sweeney Todd
(© Marilyn Kingwill)
She just can't get enough of that Sondheim.

Everything will be coming up roses next year for Imelda Staunton when she takes on the legendary role of Madam Rose in Gypsy for the Chichester Festival, the Daily Mail is reporting.

Jonathan Kent, who helmed Chichester's recent revival of Sweeney Todd in which Staunton played Mrs. Lovett to great acclaim, will direct the musical, which features a book by Arthur Laurents, music by Jule Styne, and lyrics by Sondheim.

It is still being decided whether the production will open in London or at a regional theater, as the Chichester Festival Theatre will be undergoing much-needed renovations.

This is not the first report of Staunton's taking on the role, considered by many to be the King Lear of musical theater. In August, The New York Times reported that Staunton, who prior to Sweeney Todd had not done a musical in 15 years, was persuaded by Sondheim himself to take on Rose. She will join a long line of the stage's most celebrated actors, including Ethel Merman, Rosalind Russell, Angela Lansbury, Tyne Daly, Bette Midler, Linda Lavin, Betty Buckley, Bernadette Peters, and Patti LuPone.

Staunton's London stage credits also include Sondheim's Into the Woods, Entertaining Mr. Sloane, and Guys and Dolls, among many others. Her acclaimed screen performances include Vera Drake, Shakespeare in Love, and the Harry Potter film series.