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Merman attended P. Dunham & Company a Manhattan wholesale dry-goods company and her mother Agnes (née Gardner; 1883–1974) was a school teacher. She also performed at the Central Park Casino the Paramount Theatre and a return engagement at the Palace.
Known primarily for her powerful voice and roles in musical theatre Ethel Merman has been called "the undisputed First Lady of the musical comedy stage. " Among the many standards introduced by Merman in Broadway musicals are "I Got Rhythm" "Everything's Coming Up Roses" "Some People" "Rose's Turn" "I Get a Kick Out of You" "It's De-Lovely" "Friendship" "You're the Top" "Anything Goes" and "There's No Business Like Show Business" which later became her theme song.