Fifty-three years ago tonight, Gypsy opened on Broadway with Ethel Merman in the role of “Mama” Rose Hovick. I’ve previously written a blog post about Ethel originating the role and had said that she was the only actress I hadn’t seen play it live.
Today a friend, Ira Blumenthal, posted the next best thing to a live Ethel Merman performance: an audio recording, played against the backdrop of a video featuring photos from the production. It’s so awesome to hear this. This is a piece of theatrical history that somebody thought to record, and thus preserve. Those of us who weren’t born yet when this was on Broadway can finally get a feeling for what the original production of this fascinating show was like.
So, “Here she is, boys. Here she is, world! Here’s Rose!”
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Now I know how you played the role, Ethel: like a steamroller! Wow.