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Who Could Ask for Anything More? Merman’s Greatest Moments

Who Could Ask for Anything More? Merman’s Greatest Moments

Winter Park Playhouse Winter Park, FL

Starring Laura Hodos

Musical Direction by Chris Leavy

Winter Park Playhouse Winter Park, FL

Reviewed by Carl F. Gauze

If you had to pick just one female performer to epitomize musical theater, that would be Miss Ethyl Merman. She’s appeared everywhere from Girl Crazy in 1943 to the 1980s’ Airplane. She was always the center of attention in anything she touched and has a huge fan base. With no formal training, she still became an icon of stage and screen and performed in 17 films.

Tonight, Merman was channeled through our own local belter, the exuberant Laura Hodos. Backed up by the omnipresent Chris Leavy (who must live on a cot in the back somewhere), she ran us from “Gypsy” to “Anything Goes” to “I Got Rhythm.” Interesting facts abound: Merman never took vocal lessons, she released a disco album in the ’70s that flopped, her real last name was Zimmerman. Yes, we can all read the Wiki, but this show is still better. The quality of this cabaret pre-show is in line with what I’ve come to expect: a hug from Heather in the lobby, a preshow medley from Chris Leavy on the grand piano, and great acoustics and sight lines in the auditorium. Winter Park Playhouse does these shows monthly nowadays, and while a mask is required on the patrons, the cast is now free to belt their hearts out, so long as they keep their distance. Superb!

winterparkplayhouse.org


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