Merle Louise is an American actress.


Born Merle Letowt, she managed to go from a chorus girl to a leading role thanks to Ethel Merman, and became a Broadway favourite, both in musicals (where she has originated a large number of parts) and in straight roles such as Ibsen and Shakespeare. This popularity led to her being known as the link that holds Broadway together, in the same vein Kevin Bacon is used in the party game "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon".


Louise made her musical debut in Stephen Sondheim's Gypsy, the first of several collaborations she would have with the composer, including Company, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (for which she won a Drama Desk Award) and Into the Woods.

In 1983, Louise appeared in La Cage Aux Folles, where she originated the role of the prudish Mme. Dindon. She has also appeared in experimental productions such as That Hat! in 1964 and Charlotte Sweet, playing the role of Cecily Macintosh. Later, she originated roles less frequently, but still played major parts such as Fraulein Schneider in Cabaret and Mme. Armfeldt in A Little Night Music.


Gypsy (1959)

Thelma(originated the role)
  • Madame Rose's Toreadorables
Dainty June
  • May We Entertain You? (duet)
  • Baby June and Her Newsboys (contains solo lines)
  • Dainty June and Her Farmboys (contains solo lines)
  • Broadway (contains solo lines)
  • If Momma Was Married (duet)
  • All I Need Is The Girl (duet)

That Hat! (1964)(originated the role)

  • My Husband (solo)
  • It's All Off (contains solo lines)
  • Sounds of the Night (duet)
  • My Husband (reprise)(solo)
  • The World of Confusion (contains solo lines)
  • Finale

Company (1970)(originated the role)

  • Side by Side/What Would We Do Without You?
  • Poor Baby (contains solo lines)
  • Being Alive
  • Finale Ultimo

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1979)(originated the role)

  • No Place Like London (contains solo lines)
  • Ah Miss (duet)
  • Johanna (quartet) (contains solo lines)
  • Beggar Woman's Lullaby (solo)
  • Ballad of Sweeney Todd (seventh reprise)

Charlotte Sweet (1982)(originated the role)

La Cage Aux Folles (1983)(originated the role)

  • Cocktail Counterpoint (contains solo lines)

Into the Woods (1987)

  • Cinderella at the Grave (duet)
  • Act II Finale (contains solo lines)

Kiss of the Spider Woman (1993)

  • Dear One (contains solo lines)
  • You Could Never Shame Me (solo)
  • Only in the Movies/His Name Was Molina

Cabaret (1996)

  • So What? (solo)
  • It Couldn't Please Me More (duet)
  • Married (duet)
  • What Would You Do? (solo)

A Little Night Music (2000)

  • The Glamorous Life (contains solo lines)
  • Liasons (solo)

The Full Monty (2005)

  • Jeanette's Showbiz Number (contains solo lines)

Billy Elliot the Musical (2008)

  • Finale
  • Grandma's Song (solo)
  • Finale


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