– The New York Times, reviewing the 1995 Encores! production at New York City Center
For the second time in Encores! history—and as a tip of the hat to City Center’s legacy—we’re reviving one of our own revivals. Call Me Madam was the highlight of the second season of Encores! and was the show that put the series on the map. The show’s raison d'etre in 1950 was to prove that Ethel Merman—who had triumphed a few years earlier as the un-scrubbed Annie Oakley in Irving Berlin’s Annie Get Your Gun—could shine equally as the chic American Ambassador to a fictional European nation. The show poked fun at a far more polite and benign political world than the one we live in today, but, Merman being Merman, this particular ambassador was considerably more brass than silk.
Berlin had a field day writing for his star, especially with his most famous counterpoint duet, “You’re Just in Love,” which he wrote during the show’s out-of-town tryout. When he completed the song, he called backstage excitedly to sing it to Merman. Upon learning that she wasn’t in the building, he went ahead and sang it to the assistant stage manager who had picked up the phone—a 22-year-old Hal Prince! The song spent 15 weeks on the hit parade and has been a feature on the cabaret stage ever since. With other beloved standards like “It’s a Lovely Day Today” and “Something to Dance About,” Call Me Madam invites you to a state dinner presided over by the hostess with the mostess for hearty serving of classic musical theater confections.
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Music and Lyrics by Irving Berlin
Book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse
Featuring The Encores! Orchestra
Encores! Artistic Director Jack Viertel
Encores! Music Director Rob Berman
Fans of Encores! will also love our Encores! Behind the Curtain series. Enjoy a night of discussion and song from leading Broadway performers, creators, and commentators as they offer fresh perspectives on Call Me Madam. Hosted by the Museum of the City of New York on Monday, January 14, 2019 at 7pm.
75th Anniversary Season Sponsors
Stacey and Eric Mindich
Major Support for Encores! is provided by
Stacey and Eric Mindich Fund for Musical Theater
Roz and Jerry Meyer
Nathalie and Pablo Salame
The Shubert Foundation
Stephanie and Fred Shuman Fund for Encores!
Support for Call Me Madam is provided by
Marta Heflin Foundation
Additional Support is provided by
The Frederick Loewe Foundation
The SHS Foundation
The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, Inc.