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An Ancient History Exam

By Peter Filichia –

During the dog days of summer, there’s little to do, and people tend to get a little lazy.

Let’s shake things up with a quiz on ancient Broadway history.

Well, not so ancient, depending on your viewpoint. One of the musicals cited here opened (and closed) in 1981. But suddenly that’s almost a third-of-a-century ago.

(You know, in a way, “third-of-a-century” is a bit of a clue. In a way, mind you.)

I will admit that those who were following Broadway before 1981 will have a tendency to do better than those who weren’t.

The exam comes in nine parts — although I don’t quite care to tell you why just yet. But there is good reason for the different sections. And yet, I am ONLY looking for ONE answer, not nine.

The question you must answer is: what do all these songs have in common?

“Easy Street” (Annie)

“Allons” (The Rothschilds)

“Cool, Cool, Considerate Men” (1776)

“Here We Are Again” (Do I Hear a Waltz?)

“Side by Side by Side” (Company)

“Our Heroes Come” (The Chocolate Soldier)

“Now You Know” (Merrily We Roll Along)

“Gigi” (Gigi)

“See the Light” (70, Girls, 70)

“That’s a Crime” (Irma La Douce)

“Anyone Can Whistle” (Anyone Can Whistle)

“Roxie” (Chicago)

“Timid Frieda” (Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris)

“Everything Beautiful” (Let It Ride!)

“Desert Song, The” (The Desert Song)

“Step to the Rear” (How Now, Dow Jones)

“If Ever I Would Leave You” (Camelot)

“Dames at Sea” (Dames at Sea)

“Electric Blues” (DisinHAIRited)

“That Something Extra Special” (Darling of the Day)

“Wait Till You See Her” (By Jupiter)

“One Day We Dance” (Wildcat)

“Only for Americans” (Miss Liberty)

“Forty-Five Minutes from Broadway” (George M!)

“I Wanted to Change Him” (Hallelujah, Baby!)

“Tevye’s Dream” (Fiddler on the Roof)

“Sauce Diable” (Jennie)

“Law and Order” (Inner City)

“Paris Original” (How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying)

“Riverside Drive” (Jimmy)

“Entr’acte” (“It’s a Bird … It’s a Plane … It’s Superman”)

“Coronation Chorale” (The Girl Who Came to Supper)

“One Extraordinary Thing” (The Grand Tour)

“Remember That I Care” (Street Scene)

“Down among the Grass Roots” (How to Steal an Election)

Anyone guessing that “they’re all on CD and available for digital downloads now” would be wrong – for How to Steal an Election, a 1968 off-Broadway show hasn’t been transferred. (Hmm, maybe we should try to make it available before this year’s election …)

No, the answer is far more specific than that. As a clue, I’ll say that there’s a definite reason why only one song from each musical has been given. Considering the concept behind this quiz, there is NO WAY POSSIBLE that each show could have been represented more than once.

There’s another inherent clue built into the quiz. To quote an Ethel Merman vehicle, “Happy Hunting” – a song, by the way, that could NEVER fit on this list.

I’ll be SO interested to see your answers, which I invite you to post on the right.

Best, PF

Peter Filichia also writes a column each Friday at His books on musicals are available at