Farewell to Theresa Merritt, the actress who made her stage debut in Carmen Jones and since went on to appear in dozens of shows, ultimately receiving a Tony nomination for her featured role as the title characters in 1985's August Wilson hit, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom.
According to NY Newsday's obituary (June 15), Merritt died of skin cancer June 12, at age 75.
Other Merritt credits include 1984's The Day of the Picnic at CT's Long Wharf Theatre (where Ma Rainey tried out the same year), 1982's Talking With at Manhattan Theatre Club, and Henry IV Part I at the NY Shakespeare Festival in 1987. She appeared on Broadway opposite John Lithgow and Christine Lahti in Steve Tesich's 1980 drama Division Street.
Merritt also appeared in a number of film musicals, including The Wiz, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and Bob Fosse's All That Jazz. She had a featured role, too, in The Goodbye Girl, a Neil Simon film later turned into a Broadway musical.
Funeral services will be held June 17 at Hollis Presbyterian Church on 196th St. in Manhattan. -- By David Lefkowitz