All tagged Ethel Merman

Determined to Remember the Broadway Merman

Ethel Merman is one of the great divas of the Broadway musical. Known for her earth-shaking singing voice full of gusto and volume, Merman spent decades as the go-to star for Broadway musical comedy. Though she often found work on television and in film, it was on Broadway, where no amplification was required for her voice to carry over an orchestra, that Merman was her most effective and memorable. Today, I celebrate the stage highlights of Merman’s Broadway musical career. 

Broadway Divas: MVPs by the Decade

Broadway musicals and strong leading ladies walk hand in hand. Since the inception of the Broadway Musical, an actress who can command attention and generate box office revenue through her personality and talents is a sought after commodity. Somewhere along the way, the Broadway Musical Diva emerged and theatre fans became obsessed. I decided to examine each decade of musical theatre (starting with the 1920s) and weigh contributions, reviews, awards, career escalation, and the other je ne sais quois that make an actress unique and decipher who was the most-valuable player of that ten year span. Part of my rules for writing the piece was that no actress could appear on the list more than once, though many of these talented ladies’ careers span several decades. Read on and enjoy. I look forward to your comments and debates.

No! No! No! No! Not Another Gypsy!

“Some people can thrive and bloom, watching Gypsy in their living living room.” This thought came over me when I was watching Imelda Staunton give a bravura performance as Rose in Gypsy which aired on PBS this last week. How lovely it was to see her up close and personal in that way. Watching theatre on television is not ideal, but it certainly has its perks. That being said, I am one of those detractors who do not believe that we need that revival to cross the Atlantic and set up shop on Broadway.

Musical Theatre Time Machine – Looking Back at Anything Goes

One of the most durable musical comedies of all time is the nutty and tuneful Anything Goes. Written in 1934, this one owes its shelf-life to the champagne and cotton candy score of Cole Porter, chock full of many of his greatest ear worms, to mention his clever use of internal and arch rhymes. The musical has no definitive script or song list because, with each inception, the book has been altered and different Cole Porter songs have been substituted for others in the score. What has been always consistent is that Anything Goes is a screwball comedy full of great music and loads of synchronized tap dance, set aboard an ocean liner making its way across the Atlantic from New York to London.