Bette Midler, in her network television acting debut, stars as the ultimate pushy stage mother, Rose, who seeks stardom for her two young daughters at any cost. Gypsy is a 1959 musical with music by Julie Styne, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim,and a book by Arthur Laurents. Gypsy is loosely based on the 1957 memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee, the famous striptease artist and focuses on her mother, Rose, whose name has become synonymous with "the ultimate show business mother". It follows the dreams and efforts of Rose to raise two daughters to perform onstage and casts an affectionate eye on the hardships of show business life the character of Louise is based on Lee, and the character of June is based on Lee's sister, the actress June Havoc. The creation of Mama Rose as a character for a Broadway musical was a real challenge. Laurents' unsentimental and uncompromising writing of the role of the stage-mother-to-end-all-stage-mothers was lauded by Gypsy Rose Lee herself in 1959. "Mother had been many things but she had never been nice," Gypsy recalled. "Charming, perhaps, and courageous, resourceful, and ambitious, but not nice.