ETHEL MERMAN: It's De-Lovely
Original 1932–54 Recordings
Everybody has a favourite Ethel Merman story and here's mine.
It was the opening night of Annie Get Your Gun on Broadway and those concerned had a lot at stake. Merman hadn't had a classy hit in years; Irving Berlin's last few musicals had been lacklustre; director Joshua Logan was trying to re-establish himself after his service in World War II.
The tension level was high. Waiting in the wings was a terrified young chorus girl, trying to stop her knees from shaking. Suddenly, she looked up and saw the show's leading lady, Ethel Merman, standing as calm and solid as the Rock of Gibraltar. There was only one thing moving: Merman's jaws, as she chomped on a giant wad of gum. But her face betrayed no emotion.
The near-hysterical chorine finally found the courage to address the Broadway legend.
'Aren't you nervous, Miss Merman?' she aske