Ending its introductory segment with the fitting quote “There’s no business like show business,” Just A Broadway Baby: Mary Ellen Ashley is both an ode to a generational talent and a first-hand account of life under the bright lights.

Making her Broadway debut at the tender age of 5 in The Innocent Voyage, Mary Ellen Ashley has had well over eight decades of experience in the industry that isn’t just exclusive to the stage. From films to radio shows, she’s done it all and seen it all. Her Belasco Theatre debut was just the start of a career that would see her take on an original role in Annie Get Your Gun alongside Ethel Merman and the acclaimed production Yentl. Most surprising of all is the fact that even at 85 years of age, she has yet to stop working.

The film itself touches upon these achievements as one might expect, but Ashley’s perspective lends them a more impactful touch. From a memorable audition in front of Irving Berlin to her role as the affectionately named “little girl with the lampshade hat” in Annie Get Your Gun, all the way to her numerous television appearances, Mary Ellen Ashley always sprinkles in all the little details and interactions behind each key moment in her career.

Just A Broadway Baby: Mary Ellen Ashley keeps things very simple in its execution. Director Patrick Riviere and cinematographer Mx. S. Adams have their focus exclusively on Ashley for the entire runtime, letting their subject tell her story as she remembers it, accompanied by photographs. This bare-bones approach has its own charm, with viewers likely to connect to Ashley’s charming personality and fascinating little tangents in her narration. The immersion factor is technically lacking, though, and this makes the nearly 25-minute documentary feel stagnant at times. A near-non-existent soundtrack, simplistic visuals, and camera angles mean that the film will grab your attention. . . but it is Mary Ellen Ashley who holds it.

Those wishing to learn more about the ins and outs of Broadway will find this portrait of Mary Ellen Ashley an unintimidating, humble piece of educational filmmaking. There’s something irresistibly charming about how it frames its first-hand recollection.