All tagged Ethel Merman

Remembering Call Me Madam

An old school musical comedy that was not only a perfect star vehicle for an over-the-top leading lady, but also a fine example of a lost art of comedy filled with melody, romance, and pure joy, was the 1950 Broadway outing Call Me Madam. Starring the indelible Ethel Merman, and brimming with a parade of terrific Irving Berlin tunes, Call Me Madam may have had a corny plot, but it provided a night of carefree, escapist theatergoing. 

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.