(Stephen Holden’s article appeared in The New York Times, 6/26.)

Alice Playten, a versatile character actress and musical comedy voice whose piping wail earned her comparisons to a baby Ethel Merman, died on Saturday in Manhattan. She was 63 and lived in Manhattan.

The cause was heart failure following a lifelong battle with juvenile diabetes, complicated by pancreatic cancer, said her husband, Joshua White.

Ms. Playten was a two-time Obie winner, for the satirical revue “National Lampoon’s Lemmings” and “First Lady Suite,” the Michael John LaChiusa chamber musical, in which she played Mamie Eisenhower. She was called “a comic genius” by Marilyn Stasio in her New York Post review of the Mark O’Donnell comedy “That’s It, Folks!”


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