The Theater: New Musical in Manhattan, Oct. 23, 1950

Call Me Madam (music & lyrics by Irving Berlin; book by Howard Lindsay & Russel Grouse; produced by Leland Hayward) opened with an advance sale of over $1,000,000 and the sort of fabulous buildup that can all too easily backfire. But Call Me Madam, while far from stupendous, is perfectly satisfactory—and at least can boast of one stupendous performer, Ethel Merman.

Call her madam—or Madame Du Barry, or Panama Hattie, or Annie Oakley

she remains unsurpassed in putting over a song (and a show). No lungs can send forth more compelling sounds, no lips can enunciate words more clearly. She functions with the...

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