Merande coveted Broadway parts during the Great Depression. Often she lost roles to other actresses during rehearsals. Her career began with the Jules Levanthal Company. She debuted on Broadway as Sophie Tuttle in Loose Moments, in 1935. Soon she was cast in One Good Year, Red Harvest, and Angel Island. Her first important role was playing the gossip in Our Town by Thornton Wilder.
Merande later appeared with Leo G. Carroll in Lo and Behold, The Rat Race with Betty Field, and in The Silver Whistle, with Jose Ferrer. She also performed with Clifton Webb (in Mr. Belvedere Rings The Bell), Walter Huston (in Apple of His Eye), and Franchot Tone (in Hope For Your Best). In the latter play, Merande played Tone's Down East Housekeeper.
Her final Broadway appearance was in a 1969 revival of The Front Page. She played the cleaning woman in a filthy press room. She recreated the same character in the movie and television versions. They starred Robert Ryan and George Grizzard. Merande earned good reviews in both productions.
She appeared regularly during the first season of NBC-TV's That Was the Week That Was (1964).