The Songs and Sass of Ethel Merman”



“We were watching a real talent, a performer we knew could delight us without ever singing a note that had once been

commandeered by Ethel Merman. We were not in thrall to the past: we were watching an interpretation

of it that had turned into something new.” – The New York Times


KLEA BLACKHURST – hailed as “an improbably terrific young performer” by the New York Times – will return to New York with her critically-acclaimed concert, Everything the Traffic Will Allow: The Songs and Sass of Ethel Merman for seven performances at the Snapple Theater Center (210 West 50th Street). The knock-out show took New York by storm in 2001 and has since been performed around country and in Europe. Accompanied by the Pocket Change Trio, Klea brings bright new interpretations of Merman’s signature songs such as “I Got Rhythm,” “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” and “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” as well as rarely performed obscurities including “Just A Moment Ago,” “I’ve Still Got My Health,” and “World Take Me Back.” Everything The Traffic Will Allow will be performed on Saturdays, July 18 and 25; August 1, 8, 22 and 29 and September 5. All shows start at 5:00 PM. Tickets are $35.00 and $45.00. For tickets please call (212) 921-7862 or go to

Everything The Traffic Will Allow is Ms. Blackhurst’s loving tribute to the songs made famous by the quintessential stage personality Ethel Merman. Rather than a Merman imitation, Ms Blackhurst offers a paean to the great Broadway legend that serves as a potent and happy reminder of Merman’s sheer, undeniable importance to both the history of twentieth century entertainment and the iconic composers like Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, George Gershwin and Jerry Herman, who wrote songs just for her. The engagement is a rare chance to experience Blackhurst’s crackling wit and powerful vocals as she performs her brilliant, savvy valentine to one of American theatre’s greatest stars.

KLEA BLACKHURST has performed with symphonies and orchestras and in theatrical productions across the county and abroad. Among many accolades, Ms. Blackhurst won the inaugural Special Achievement Award from Time Out New York magazine for Everything the Traffic Will Allow and its recording was named one of the Top Ten show albums of 2002 by She has performed the work of composer Vernon Duke in Autumn in New York at Joe’s Pub and the Café Carlyle and teamed with Billy Stritch on Dreaming of a Song: The Music of Hoagy Carmichael, winning the MAC and Back Stage Bistro Award for their performance at the Metropolitan Room.

Her live CD recording of Everything the Traffic Will Allow – in addition to Autumn in New York and Dreaming Of A Song – are available through Ghostlight Records. Other recordings include Jule Styne in Hollywood, Lost in Boston IV and Unsung Irving Berlin.

Klea’s many concert appearances include the recent London Palladium presentation of Jerry Herman’s Broadway. She made her Carnegie Hall debut starring with Michael Feinstein in an evening devoted to the work of composer Jule Styne. In 2002, Klea made her London debut at Royal Albert Hall. She returned to London the following spring to debut Everything The Traffic Will Allow at the Greenwich Theatre. Klea’s theatre credits include Mama Morton in Chicago; the dual roles of Bernice/Marilyn in the Off Broadway production of Bingo; Nails O’Reilly Duquesne in Red, Hot and Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes; Debbie in the original Off Broadway production of Oil City Symphony; Rennabelle in Radio Gals Off Broadway; and the role of Hippolyta in By Jupiter in the York Theatre’s “Musicals in Mufti” series. On radio and television, Klea has appeared on “The Caroline Rhea Show,” “The Rosie O’Donnell Show,” “Sesame Street,” “Law and Order: SVU” and “A Prairie Home Companion.”