I just finished reading Mary Martin’s autobiography My Heart Belongs, which I picked up for a mere twenty-seven cents at a thrift store. Mary Martin is one of the greats of Broadway—having appeared in eleven shows on Broadway (including originating iconic roles in South Pacific, Peter Pan, and The Sound of Music) as well as headlining shows in London and American national tours.
It’s hard to fully appreciate the appeal of Mary Martin now since, being a stage star, most of her best work is no longer accessible, but there’s no questioning her star appeal, particularly considering the famous roles she was offered but turned down and the ecstatic response she often received after performances, humbly detailed in My Heart Belongs. The fact that she appeared in eleven shows on Broadway alone speaks volumes of her talent.
So . . . how well do you know Mary Martin as told in her autobiography? Take the quiz to find out. Answers will be posted tomorrow along with some engaging discussion.
1. Which of the following shows were NOT offered to Mary Martin to originate a role?
A) Oklahoma! B) Kiss Me, Kate
C) Guys and Dolls D) My Fair Lady
2. Of all her roles, which does Mary Martin proclaim to be her favorite?
A) Venus (from One Touch of Venus) B) Nellie Forbush
C) Peter Pan D) Dolly Levi
3. Which of the following statements are true of I Do! I Do!, the two-person musical which she starred in with Robert Preston.
A) She chose it over originating Dolly Levi.
B) Her husband Richard Halliday wrote the book.
C) Her husband Richard Halliday directed the show with Gower Champion.
D) There were no understudies or standbys hired.
4. According to Mary Martin, what melody cut from South Pacific was she responsible for getting used in The King and I?
A) “I Whistle a Happy Tune”
B) “Hello, Young Lovers”
C) “Getting to Know You”
D) “Shall We Dance”
5. According to Mary Martin, how did she and Richard Halliday save William Talbert’s job out of town as the original Lieutenant Cable?
A) They changed his hair color and style.
B) They helped boost his confidence.
C) They taught him how to relax.
D) They had the keys of his song lowered.
6. With which of the following men did Mary Martin not star?
A) John Raitt
B) Yul Brynner
C) Charles Boyer
D) Alfred Drake
7. How did Mary Martin get most of her formal dance training?
A) She took classes taught by Gene Kelly.
B) She opened a dance school and took the classes in the summer to teach her students.
C) She never actually had any formal dance training.
D) She was trained by her first husband Ben Hagman, who was a well-trained hoofer.
8. To which controversial location did Mary Martin take Hello, Dolly!, going so far as to persuade the cast to do it.
A) Birmingham, Alabama
9. During a busy Easter shopping season, Mary Martin stopped by Saks to buy a pair of gloves. It was so busy that there were no salespeople to help her. Who ended up playing salesperson for her, even going so far as to make up a sales slip and accept her payment?
A) Carol Burnett
B) Ethel Merman
C) Fanny Brice
D) Beatrice Lillie
10. Mary Martin and her husband Richard Halliday found peace and relaxation in what foreign country?
And, in case you aren’t familiar with Mary Martin’s work, an overview:
the Broadway Mouth
March 24, 2008