Theatre Legend Ethel Merman Comes to Life at Stoneham Theatre This Weekend
Everything's coming up Merman from today, August 21 through August 24, 2014, as Stoneham Theatre presents Ethel Merman's Broadway, the Award-Winning, critically acclaimed musical celebration of Broadway's greatest singer: Ethel Merman! Stage and TV star Rita McKenzie recreates the amazing life of "La Merm," with songs from such hit musicals as Gypsy, Annie Get Your Gun, Anything Goes, Hello, Dolly!, and more. You'll hear all of Merman's hits-such iconic songs as: "I Got Rhythm"; "I Get a Kick Out of You"; "Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries"; "Everything's Coming Up Roses"; and, of course, "There's No Business Like Show Business."
Jack Klugman, star of The Odd Couple and Quincy, who co-starred in Gypsy with Ethel Merman, saw Ms. McKenzie in Ethel Merman's Broadway and proclaimed "This woman is remarkable. Anybody that wants to see a magnificent show and see Ethel Merman live again, they've got to come see this. Rita McKenzie is just brilliant." Composer and lyricist Jerry Herman agreed, raving that "Rita is absolutely the best, and it's a thrilling night. I want everybody out there to come and see this. Because if you want to know what Ethel Merman was really like, it will never get any better than this."
In addition to national and international critically acclaimed runs of Ethel Merman's Broadway, Ms. McKenzie has also performed in the national tour of Neil Simon's female version of The Odd Couple. Co-starring with Barbara Eden, McKenzie was honored for her outstanding portrayal of Olive Madison with a National Broadway Theatre nomination as Best Actress in a Touring Play. McKenzie and Eden had previously completed a successful tour of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. She starred in the Los Angeles premiere of the off-Broadway musical Ruthless! at the Cannon Theatre and can be heard on the original cast album. She created the role of Phoebe Farber in Sam Harris' production of Hurry! Hurry! Hollywood! in Los Angeles, and she played Maggie Jones in 42nd Street with Mariette Hartley. Her other starring roles include Aldonza in Man of la Mancha, Ruth in The Pirates of Penzance, Belle Poltrine in Little Me, Domina in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Cleo in The Most Happy Fella, Widow Corney in Oliver!, and Nurse Custer in Whoopee! In addition, Ms. McKenzie also toured the country in Merman's signature role as Annie Oakley in the 50th anniversary production of Annie Get Your Gun opposite Glenn Yarbrough. She has also played Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes and, of course, Mama Rose in Gypsy. An accomplished TV and film actress, Ms. McKenzie played Alice, the housekeeper, on Fox's "The Brady Bunch: The Final Days," has guest-starred on NBC's "Caroline in the City," and will be recalled for her roles as Mrs. Littlejohn on NBC's "Frasier," Rita Marcus on the Family Channel's "Big Brother Jake," and her recurring role on "Daddy Dearest," starring Richard Lewis and Don Rickles.
Tickets are $45-$60. Stoneham Theatre members get 10% off. Performances are on Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 7:30pm, Friday, August 22, 2014 at 2:00pm (Senior Matinee) and 8:00pm, Saturday, August 23, 2014 at 8:00pm, and Sunday, August 24, 2014 at 2:00pm. For more information or to purchase tickets, call Stoneham Theatre's Box Office at 781-279-2200, or visit www.stonehamtheatre.org. To learn more about Ethel Merman's Broadway, visit www.ethelmermansbroadway.com.