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re: Ethel Merman, ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, 1967 TV Version -- Another Opinion
Last Edit: BroadwayTonyJ 11:30 am EDT 09/25/21
Posted by: BroadwayTonyJ 11:30 am EDT 09/25/21
In reply to: re: Ethel Merman, ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, 1967 TV Version -- Another Opinion - portenopete 10:41 am EDT 09/25/21

The real Annie Oakley was 15 when she bested Frank Butler in a shooting match. Dorothy and Herbert Fields, Irving Berlin, and Rodgers & Hammerstein conceived the role for Ethel Merman. I think their goal was to create a Broadway musical that would be a spectacular success. They weren't trying to make a documentary.

I was actually referring to Henry Hewes, who at the time of the '66 revival, praised Merman's performance highly and suggested that the Tony committee bend their rules a bit to so that Merman could get a nomination for her performance.

Annie Get Your Gun is essentially a cartoon. I don't think the age of the actor portraying her matters much as long as she knocks Berlin's songs out of the park and gets the appropriate laughs out of the Fields' lines. I've seen Peters, McEntire, and Hilty in the role and all three were great in their own way.

I think Merman was an expert comedienne and did a fine job in her best film roles like Alexander's Ragtime Band, There's No Business Like Show Business, Call Me Madam, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, and others. Of course, her style was popular during a different time period, and some people today have a tough time appreciating both her and Mary Martin.
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