The Mary Martin Story
After high school and before Paula got established in Manhattan she would return to Forest Hills from time to time to work in local theater. In 1964 the Forest Hills Youth and Adult Center was putting on a production of South Pacific. Paula was playing Nellie Forbush.
One of the actors in the play, Norman Cooper, was related to Mary Martin, the original Nellie Forbush in Broadway’s production of South Pacific.
He enthusiastically told Paula that he invited Martin to the play and she was indeed coming to opening night. Paula was beyond thrilled to have Martin see her interpretation of Nellie. She naively thought this would be her big break. With Martin’s blessing the doors to Broadway would magically open.
Paula was nervous but ready.
But before the opening curtain Norman approached Paula and showed her a Western Union telegram from Mary Martin. Seemed like Paula’s big break would have to wait a little longer.
Ahh...the one that got away.