Ethel Merman

Gypsy [Original Broadway Cast]

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This tribute to burlesque was a star vehicle for Ethel Merman. The score by Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim includes the Merman standard "Everything's Coming Up Roses," and the song that is invariably used to introduce anything having to do with the strip tease, "Let Me Entertain You." A 702-performance hit in its original production (which is captured here), the show was considered the definitive Merman performance and the crowning achievement of her long career. (It marked her final appearance in a new Broadway musical, though she later appeared in revivals.) It is also considered one of the great American musicals of all time, balanced between the broad show business entertainment represented by composer Jule Styne and the modern, dark, psychological drama typical of Stephen Sondheim, who, as with his previous effort, West Side Story, was contributing only lyrics, though he would go on to write music and lyrics for a series of musicals from the 1960s on.

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