The production and Ethel Merman's now-legendary performance won high praise. "She is playing the indomitable mother of Gypsy Rose Lee," wrote Brooks Atkinson. "Her pipes resonant and her spirit syncopated, [Merman] struts and bawls her way through it triumphantly."
The musical earned eight Tony nominations, but won zero; the 1960 Tony Awards were extremely competitive, including powerhouse musicals Fiorello! and The Sound of Music.
Holed up in a seedy motel on the edge of the Mojave Desert, two former lovers unpack the deep secrets and dark desires of their tangled relationship, passionately tearing each other apart. Led by director Daniel Aukin (Back Back Back at MTC, 4,000 Miles), Tony winner Nina Arianda (Venus in Fur at MTC, Born Yesterday) and Sam Rockwell (A Behanding in Spokane, The Way Way Back) bring an explosive intensity to Sam Shepard’s (Buried Child, True West) landmark myth of the new Wild West.