Today we’re playing an excerpt of Terry’s interview with Elaine Stritch, a performer lucky enough to have debuted songs by Noel Coward and Stephen Sondheim, and to have been coached by each of them. She died last Thursday at the age of 89.
Stritch used to describe herself as “a Catholic, diabetic, alcoholic, pain in the ass.” Her Broadway career began in 1946. She was Ethel Merman’s understudy in the Irving Berlin musical Call Me Madam in the early 50s, and starred in Noel Coward’s 1961 Broadway musical Sail Away, in a role that he expanded to suit her large talent. In 1970 she co-starred in the Sondheim musical Company, where she sang what became one of her signature songs, The Ladies Who Lunch. In 2002, she was on Broadway in her autobiographical one woman show Elaine Stritch At Liberty. In 2010, she replaced Angela Lansbury in Sondheim’s A Little Night Music. TV audiences knew her from 30 Rock playing Alec Baldwin’s mother.
Terry spoke with Stritch in 1999, when she was starring in a revival of Sail Away, in honor of Noel Coward’s centennial.