|Thanks for those thoughtful (as always) observations, AlanScott. And thanks for reminding me that not only were there significant differences between mid-century musical star vehicles and mid-century musicals that were not star vehicles, but that there could also be significant differences between one kind of star vehicle and another kind of star vehicle, depending on the star. Some stars did a lot of ad-libbing, talking to the audience, drifting off into their nightclub acts, trying to break up the other cast members, and generally running wild, which was more or less what they were expected to do, and presumably to the audience's delight--while other stars did not do any of that. Merman was certainly not the type to "run wild"; she was of course famous for giving exactly the same performance every single night of any given show, as near as was humanly possible. But her roles in shows were always very closely tailored to her personality--even Annie Get Your Gun, however much acting it also required--which is what made them star vehicles. Gypsy was exceptional in that, while the role was always intended for Merman, it doesn't live and die with Merman; there's enough latitude in it that it can be played magnificently by any actress with a big enough personality--and a big enough voice!