Theater archives

Patti LuPone Is the New Ethel Merman


In 1987’s tap-happy revival of Anything Goes, Patti LuPone scored as Reno Sweeney, the role originated by big-lunged Ethel Merman in the ’30s.

In 2008, she picked up a Tony for playing Mama Rose, another Merman role, in a rousing retread of Gypsy.

And now, she going to take on yet ANOTHER Merman part in a staged concert of Annie Get Your Gun at the Ravinia Festival in August.

She’s going through the entire Merman canon, one by one!

And Annie Get Your Gun, by the way, was last played by Bernadette Peters, who also did Gypsy.

Which was done in the ’70s by Angela Lansbury, who originated Sweeney Todd, which LuPone starred in a revival of.

And Patti was also once in a revival of Noises Off in the role originated by Dorothy Loudon, who later became a replacement for Lansbury in Sweeney Todd.

So what exactly am I getting at?

Um, er … oh, I know! Broadway is really incestuous!

And Patti LuPone is the new Ethel Merman!

She should do a disco album.