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The Big Voice Celebrates Merman's Birthday on Jan. 16

In honor of Ethel Merman's 99th birthday on January 16th, the Off-Broadway hit musical The Big Voice: God or Merman? will make the evening special by celebrating the legendary Broadway belter.

"Audience members are invited to dress up like Ethel Merman for free admission to the show that evening at 8pm. After the performance, there will be a 'Merman-off' costume parade hosted and judged by the legendary Marge Champion and Donald Saddler. Marge directed Ethel as Dolly when she went into the show and Donald Saddler directed Ethel many times including her famous show with Mary Martin. The costume parade will conclude with a cake and ice cream celebration at the theater," press notes state.

"For those less daring, simply bring a 'Merm-mento' to the show that evening, and receive admission for $19.08 (the year that The Merm was born). A 'Merm-mento' can be a picture, a CD, or anything related to the great star."

Written by and starring Jim Brochu and Steve Schalchlin (The Last Session), The Big Voice "hilariously proves that showbiz is as much a calling as the priesthood. This high energy, razzle-dazzle show chronicles the lives of a Baptist from Arkansas and a Catholic from Brooklyn who find eternal salvation in the temple of musical theatre." 

The show "traces Jim and Steve's meeting aboard a ship in the Atlantic Ocean, Steve's struggle with AIDS, the production of their hit off-broadway musical The Last Session, their separation and their reconciliation. It's a comedy about a "gay marriage" between two men created by the couple themselves."

The Big Voice: God or Merman? currently plays Tuesday at 8pm, Wednesday at 3pm & 8pm, Thursday at 8pm, Saturday at 3pm & 8pm, and Sunday at 3pm & 7pm at The Actors Temple Theater (339 W. 47th Street) . Tickets can be purchased by calling Telecharge (212) 239-6200 or going to For more information, please visit:

For those who are interested in dressing up/impersonating Ethel Merman at The Big Voice on January 16th, please register by email to: or just show up.

Photo - Jim Brochu and Steve Schalchlin with Charlotte Rae; by Paul Kreppel

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