This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Ethel Merman: Broadway´S Voice Essay

1542 words - 7 pages

The Impact of Ethel Merman
Ethel Merman is described by PBS as the most successful musical comedy performer of her generation. Merman is known for contributing her loud and clear vocals to the Broadway stage and changing the way that people observed women on Broadway as well (PBS). Appearing and starring in several Broadway blockbusters, her acting career appeared to go through somewhat transitional phases to where she could act less and less like herself in character. Merman left her mark as an entertainer and her voice continues to be a spectacle.
Ethel’s life before Broadway speaks a lot to her career on Broadway. Ethel Agnes Zimmerman was born in the neighborhood of Astoria in New ...view middle of the document...

Another big show for Merman was Anything Goes (1934) which has been viewed as her greatest success yet (PBS). During the period before this musical, the Great Depression had taken a toll on America and had producer Vinton Freedley looking to make a hit musical to make money. Assembling a team of well-known theater producers, Anything Goes (1934) was assembled and underwent wealth of revisions. During the revisions, Ethel took down notes as the authors were improvising the lines then typed out the material; this was something that no actress had done before (Kenrick). Lucky for Merman, the original production relied on gags and plot points that were built around the talents of the stars (Stempel 266). This show, with musical production by Cole Porter, spawned songs like “I Get a Kick out of You” and “Blow Gabirel Blow”(Kenrick). It was also argued that this musical gave Merman her first real role. She fit the bill so perfectly because she was able to use her voice and the character she played, Reno Sweeney was very similar to “Merman in her archetypal fullness.”
At the crack of the 1940’s, having Merman’s name on a marquee guaranteed strong ticket sales. By the time the next couple big Porter hits came, they sealed Ethel Merman as a musical comedy star. Her persona had developed from her past performances and she was now a big seller on Broadway (Mordden). Dubarry was a Lady (1939) offered Merman with actor Bert Lahr as an on stage duo that had songs like, “Friendship,” and “But in the Morning, No. The show was said to give a true identity to a gender war taking place because of Merman’s cynicism in the conveying of her lyrics (Mordden). The other Porter show, Panama Hattie (1940), put Merman into the headliner position. It let Merman showcase her comedic attitude and showcase her voice for hits like “Let’s be buddies” (Kenrick). In the time of this musical, Merman had been famed for her professionalism and having her shows from night to night being so consistent. (Mordden).
Later on into the 1940’s Merman was involved in one of the largest musical comedy hits of all time. Annie Get Your Gun (1946) became the longest running show that she and Irving Berlin were associated with (Kenrick). Merman claimed that this show was the show that would “change her persona” as an actress, she would become the part of Annie Oakley (Mordden). The show, although remaining to the musical comedy roots and being gag oriented, had Merman trying to sustain her character. The idea of the character development of Annie Oakley was crucial to the understanding of the play. Author Larry Stempel boasts, “No longer was she Miss Merman acting like Ethel Merman, she was Miss Merman acting like Annie Oakley” (Stempel 319). This musical yielded hits like, “Doin’ What Comes Naturally,” and “You can’t get a man with a gun,” but the most identifiable anthem for Merman was “There’s No Business Like Show Business.” It is arguable that this was the creative peak for Ethel...

Find Another Essay On Ethel Merman: Broadway´s Voice

Evolution Of American Music Essay

736 words - 3 pages quartets performed on the streets. Movies and Broadway began to use music in their productions. In 1903, radio’s began to play music which inspired the hand cranked victrola. Ballroom dancing became a popular trend during this time as well. The time periods of 1900-1909 opened up an opportunity for music to flourish. "(American Cultural History." American Cultural History. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 May 2014.) The 1910’s were a time of jazz and ragtime

Raisin in the Sun Essay

1114 words - 5 pages and bricks at them. These early influences were clearly reflected later in Hansberry’s works. In 1958 she raised funds to produce her play “Raisin in the Sun,” which opened in March 1959 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on Broadway, with great success. The play had a run of 530 performances. “Raisin in the Sun” was the first play produced on Broadway written by a black woman. Lorraine received the New York Critics' Circle award for which she

Blues for Mister Charlie

2151 words - 9 pages artistic prime and the rest of his work from the mid-1960s on was merely an echo of the voice he once gave power to. After the 1964 initial Broadway production closed, the show was not seen again for 40 years. It was not until a documentary film maker in the early 1990s began investigating, scrutinizing, and documenting Till’s murder. Keith Beauchamp, and amateur filmmaker form Louisiana, was deeply moved by a photo in a magazine he saw when he was

Jazz and The Charleston in The 1920's

2105 words - 8 pages controversial at the time because it was uncommon for a dance to require excess physical contact between a man and a woman (“1920’s Dances” par. 3). The younger generation thoroughly enjoyed the Charleston because, “It has life and vitality” (Knowles 166). The Charleston was first noticed in all black Broadway shows, but it was also shown in speakeasies (Knowles 147). Before the Charleston was shown on Broadway people did not dance, but after

McCarthyism as Modern Witch Hunts

2253 words - 9 pages include much direct military conflict though it did include a battle upon Communism and the use of spies. One of the most famous cases of spies was the case of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. The couple was minor activists in the American Communist Party and convicted of being Communists. As a result the two were found guilty and executed. This is similar to what happened in Salem, Massachusetts in the 1600s. McCarthyism caused much

Jazz and the Charleston in the 1920's

2037 words - 8 pages require excess physical contact (“1920’s Dances” par. 3). The younger generation thoroughly enjoyed the Charleston because, “It has life and vitality” (Knowles 166). The Charleston was first noticed in all black Broadway shows, but it was also shown in speakeasies (Knowles 147). As the Charleston gained popularity a new era emerged (“1920’s Dances” par. 1). Before the Charleston people did not dance, but after the creation of the Charleston it became

The Queen of Tap Dancing

1245 words - 5 pages take tap lessons until a bit later in her life, around the mid-1920’s. At eleven years old, she was discovered by Gus Edwards and performed in a dinner show called the Vaudeville Kiddie Revue. In her teenage years she could often be found dancing in clubs. Then, she started auditioning for Broadway shows. The reason she started tap dancing was because the fact that every audition she went to, she was asked to tap dance. So, she enrolled in the

A Multi-directional Approach To Gender Stratification

2458 words - 10 pages better education than a male. As Ethel Klein supports in his book «Gender Politics», «Few women hold professional jobs (16%). For women, professional jobs are most likely to be elementary and secondary school teachers, nurses, health technicians, and librarians.» (167). Apparently, this happens because a certain faction of men who hold high positions in numerous jobs have created a stereotype which is hard to be surpassed and has become a social

Judy Garland

866 words - 4 pages Mother had her performing Jingle Bells in the family theater, where Frances went by the name “Baby Gumm.” Shortly after Frances’s debut, the three girls became a sister act. They performed in the Grand Rapids area, until their mother Ethel moved the family to California in 1926. The girls performed on the radio, in theaters, and at nightclubs. In the late 1920’s the three Gumm sisters appeared in several short films together. France’s oldest

Title: And then there were none Author: Agatha Christie Setting:

846 words - 3 pages January 4 1917 sent his wife?s lover to his death Anthony Marston on November 14 killed John& Lucy Combes Thomas & Ethel Rogers May 6 1929 killed Jennifer Brady Lawrence Wargrave June 10 1930 killed Edward Senton This book is about 10 people who are told to go to Indian Island. They were told to go their bye a friend or college that met and had some strong ties with at one point or another. All 10 people had never ever seen each other some

Hope in the Totalitarian Realm

2001 words - 9 pages connection to the time before and their more empowered ancestry. For this reason the hope for civilization and for women within Swastika Night rests with a man. This voice of enlightened thinking in the novel comes from Alfred, a lowly Englishman, and an atheist. Alfred has never truly believed that Hitler is god and when he is given proof through the history in the book of von Hess, his faith in an alternative society is bolstered. Oppositely

Similar Essays

Biography Of Irving Berlin Essay

1443 words - 6 pages the integrated musical which had been made popular by Rodgers and Hammerstein. Annie Get Your Gun starred Ethel Merman as Annie Oakley and followed her journey to stardom as a sharpshooter in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show (Kenrick 256). Annie Get Your Gun was the third longest running show of the nineteen-forties. It was also the biggest Broadway hit of both Berlin’s and Merman’s careers (Green and Ginell 130). The songs were organically grounded

Wizards And Villains And Playbills, Oh My!: The Niche Musical And The Internet

1704 words - 7 pages meta-theatricality, however, is not present in the show itself, but rather in “The [title of show] show”, a video series on YouTube detailing [title of show]’s road to Broadway. This ten-part series features entirely new material with the same cast as the stage production, using the same kind of humor and tone found in the musical itself. The show does take advantage of its new medium, using more varied settings than that of the show, which is

The Afterlife Adventures Of Stuart Jones

3738 words - 15 pages date magazines and even more of those wooden folding chairs."Please have a seat. Your LORD will see you soon," came through the PA in a smooth, calming voice. The PA was rather old and not of the highest quality, so the message came out, "Pl... ave... s...t. Y...r L...D... ll s... u s...n."This time however Stuart just would not wait. He barged through the door at the other end of the room. The door that said LORD on it."Well that was rude

British National Cinema: This Happy Breed

2449 words - 10 pages character. He uses the character of frank as a vessel to voice such idealisms. Frank regularly voices his lengthy opinions, which read more like monologues. When his son Reg becomes overtly politicised by his socialist friend Sam after the General Strike, Frank gives to voicing his opinion to his wife Ethel. “Where they go wrong”, says Frank, “is trying to get things done too quickly. We don’t like things doing quickly in this country. It’s like