NY Mirror

Bunny, who hung up on Epperson, replies: "There's no circuit party where the focus is a show, particularly not a drag show. From my limited experience, the participants in a circuit party are so fucked up they can't find the direction of the stage--which I've discovered while being on the stage, though maybe they just turned their backs on me, hee hee! Anyway, Lypsinka's a busy jet-setter. I'm thrilled to have her when I have her." She's a family TV for the new millennium?

Over in Jersey, that big circuit party known as Gypsy is being revived at the Paper Mill Playhouse, which poses no logistical problem at all. (Let's face it--we're Jersey.) In fact, if Gypsy were being done in Sudan, I'd be in the front row, dressed like Rosalind Russell. The show's mix of brassy dazzle and dark character study makes it a musical must--and this production stars the intriguing combo of Betty Buckley and Deborah Gibson, which is very Sunset Boulevard via "Electric Youth."

At an open rehearsal for the press last week, the director introduced us to the principals, and the ever game Gibson took it well when he couldn't remember her name; she even went on to simulate the strip number that will remind us she's Deborah. And Buckley--who told me she'd been discussing with her vocal coach how to avoid imitating Ethel Merman--belted some numbers that proved the Merm was imitating her. Perhaps most impressive of all was the scarily talented Alexandra Kiesman, who plays that perky automaton Baby June. Fresh off turning dozens of cartwheels, Alexandra didn't even flinch when I crassly asked her if she'd like to play JonBenet someday. "Sure! That would be great!" she exclaimed, eagerly. Alas, she's too old for the part!

Michael Musto can be e-mailed at musto@villagevoice.com.

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