Ethel Merman (1908-1984) was the original Queen of Broadway.
There is no possible way to overstate Merman's position in Broadway history. She has been called "the Undisputed First Lady of the musical comedy stage" with very, very good reason.
Merman made her Broadway debut in the Gershwins' Girl Crazy and was an immediate smash, to the point where George Gershwin, upon hearing that she had never taken a singing lesson in her life, advised her to keep it that way.
She followed it with a career on the Broadway stage. While some musicals flopped, that never really mattered; she had a career that put anyone before or since to shame, including roles in some of Broadway's most legendary and influential musicals.
Her Most Notable Musicals:
- Girl Crazy
- Anything Goes
- Annie Get Your Gun
- Call Me Madam
- DuBarry Was A Lady
- Hello, Dolly!