The 2020 Broadway Radio Brainteasers By Peter Filichia
Two weeks ago, I gave some questions that I took from my Sunday podcasts on www.broadwayradio.com. I promised the answers in two weeks’ time, and I’ll stay true to my word.
1—The song from a ‘60s musical that mentions all five of New York City’s boroughs – but refers to Staten Island as Richmond, its official name until 1975 – is “Five Lovely Ladies” from JIMMY.
2—One of Stephen Sondheim’s most famous lyrics – in a show for which he only wrote lyrics – that contains two lines that became the title of a 1970s supper club revue is STARTING HERE, STARTING NOW, mentioned in “Everything’s Coming up Roses.” Long before the revue took to the stage, Barbra Streisand had recorded the song.
3— Of all the major Broadway songwriters, Jerry Herman had the highest percentage when it came to working on musicals set in France: DEAR WORLD, THE GRAND TOUR, LA CAGE AUX FOLLES and BEN FRANKLIN IN PARIS, for which he wrote two songs. Considering that he worked on ten musicals, that’s a forty percent Parisian rate.
4—The 1956 musical that had an opening number identical to one that opened a musical four years earlier was “Opening” of NEW FACES OF 1956 and NEW FACES OF 1952.
5—In her first starring role, this actress romanced a man whose surname is pronounced the same way as the surname of the character that she would play a dozen years later. That’s Ethel Merman, who hooked up with Sir Evelyn Oakleigh in 1934 and became Annie Oakley in 1946.
6—The musical set in Italy that has a title song that colloquially alludes to a piece by an Austrian composer is DO I HEAR A WALTZ? which mentions “lovely Blue Danube-y music.”
7—Around twenty years before this major musical hit officially opened, its composer’s father was the sole musician in a very short-lived Broadway play. It played in the theater directly behind the theater where his son’s major hit played its entire run. That’s Marvin Hamlisch’s, whose A CHORUS LINE was at the Shubert, nestled next to the Booth, where his daddy played for the 1955 play THE WOODEN DISH.
8—The musical that had been written by brothers and starred sisters was OVER HERE! The Sherman Brothers wrote it; The Andrews Sisters starred in it.
9—The Rodgers and Hart musical that was reworked by a Theatre Hall of Fame writer who was almost exclusively a lyricist was, believe it or not, Fred Ebb, who massaged the 1967 revival of BY JUPITER.
10—The songs from 110 IN THE SHADE, YOU’RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN and HOW NOW, DOW JONES that offer what we’ll euphemistically call alternative facts are “Melisande,” “Little-Known Facts” and “Shakespeare Lied.”
11—The 1960s Tony-nominated Best Musical whose logo actually pictured the name of the play on which it was based was I DO! I DO! which showed “The Fourposter.”
12—Patrick Dennis wrote the novels on which two musicals were based – LITTLE ME and MAME – and in each, he was an actual character.
13—The name of a comic book character has been seen on the marquee two times at the same Broadway theater: once in a new musical and once in a revival of a reasonably famous classic play. That’s the Alvin, which not only played host to IT’S A BIRD … IT’S A PLANE … IT’S SUPERMAN in 1966 but also housed MAN AND SUPERMAN in 1947.
14—What TWO’S COMPANY, CALL ME MADAM, THE GIRL WHO CAME TO SUPPER, MAGGIE FLYNN and THE GRAND TOUR all have in common is that they showcased Oscar-winners: Bette Davis, Paul Lukas, Jose Ferrer, Shirley Jones and Joel Grey.
15—The star who appeared in the original Broadway productions of one musical by Bob Merrill and two by Charles Strouse and Lee Adams? The shows were TAKE ME ALONG, ALL AMERICAN and the aforementioned SUPERMAN, but the star? This one will come across on the electronic page as a cheat, for he was Bill Starr – not a “star” in the usual sense. But these podcasts are aural only.
16—A character named Vernon has appeared in two ‘50s Tony-winning musicals: DAMN YANKEES and THE PAJAMA GAME; that’s the real name of the character far more often referred to as Hinesy.
17—The world-famous, Tony-winning musical has its first three songs start with the same letter is MY FAIR LADY: “Why Can’t the English?” “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly?” “With a Little Bit of Luck.”
18—A famous one-word musical that has nine letters in its title originally went by an eight-letter title. Yes, BRIGADOON started out as RIGADOON.
19—In Michael Stewart’s book for HELLO, DOLLY! he has Dolly mention a 19th century stage star who turned up as an actual character in one of Stewart’s later shows. The line, originally written by Thornton Wilder, is “Who took the horses out of Jenny Lind’s carriage and pulled her through the streets?” Jenny Lind later appeared in Stewart’s BARNUM.
20—What Lily Garland, Joe Hardy, Paul San Marco, Signor Pirelli and Sweeney Todd have in common is that they all changed their names from Mildred Plotka, Joe Boyd, Efreyen Ramirez, Daniel O’Higgins and Benjamin Barker.
21— I CAN GET IT FOR YOU WHOLESALE was the ‘30s novel about Harry Bogen, who became Harriet Boyd when the film version was made in 1951; for the 1962 musical, Harry Bogen was back, played by Elliott Gould, who married the woman who stole the show: Barbra Streisand.
22—A smash-hit play of the 19th century had a character whose full name was repurposed in a Rodgers and Hammerstein hit; there, they separated his first and last names, not by a real middle one, but by a preposition. It’s Simon OF Legree in THE KING AND I’s “The Small House of Uncle Thomas.”
23—The composer-lyricist of a musical that would win him a Best Score Tony in that show’s opening number actually quoted three words in six notes from a song he’d written before was Irving Berlin, whose “Mrs. Sally Adams” in CALL ME MADAM cited his “God Bless America.”
24—A “May-December romance” refers to a relationship between a young person and an older one. The musical that involved just such a situation was THE MOST HAPPY FELLA, which opened on May 3, 1956 and closed on December 14, 1957.
25—An off-Broadway musical had a leading lady who’d win her first Tony a dozen years after her understudy in this production would win her first and only Tony. That’s Bernadette Peters in DAMES AT SEA, who saw her understudy Janie Sell win her Tony for OVER HERE!
26—In BYE BYE BIRDIE, the only time we hear anyone say “I love you!” is when Mr. McAfee says it about Ed Sullivan.
27—What these Tony-winning songwriters have in common – Lionel Bart, Jerry Bock, Marvin Hamlisch, Sheldon Harnick, Jerry Herman, Edward Kleban and Maury Yeston – is that they all once bested Stephen Sondheim for a Tony in the Best Score category.
28—She appeared in a musical in the early ‘60s where she supported one of the most famous entertainers of all time and duetted with her in a song that became popular. Before this, she’d been married to a composer who’d later write a big ‘60s hit. It’s Paula Stewart, who’d been married to Burt Bacharach (who’d write PROMISES, PROMISES) before she sang “Hey, Look Me Over!” with Lucille Ball in WILDCAT.
30—When this musical opened off-Broadway, this song was sixteenth in the score; when the show moved to Broadway, this song became its opening number. It’s “Aquarius” from HAIR.
31—“Lyricists love cleverness,” William Goldman wrote in his landmark book THE SEASON before mentioning “‘uppity’ rhyming with ‘cup of tea.’” The musical from that 1967-68 season that did have a song with those rhymes is “A Gentleman’s Gentleman” from DARLING OF THE DAY.
32—When the original cast album of this famous musical was released, two stars were above the title. Years later, the recording was reissued with a new cover with the two above-the-title stars now joined by a third: Robert Goulet, who became famous through CAMELOT, joined Richard Burton and Julie Andrews on that lofty perch.
33—The musical that ran fewer than two weeks on Broadway and whose opening number became a Grammy-winning, Number One hit was THE THREEPENNY OPERA and “Mack the Knife,” thanks to Bobby Darin’s recording.
34—Three performers got together to sing a Kander and Ebb song in one of their musicals. One performer had already won a Tony; one would soon win a Tony; and one had to wait quite a few years for a Tony. I had David Wayne, Robert Goulet and Michael Rupert in mind for THE HAPPY TIME, but many answered THE RINK, where Liza Minnelli, Chita Rivera and Jason Alexander also fit the criteria.)
35—What do Alvin, Bernie, Charlie, Ezekiel and Wilmer have in common? They’re all victims of the Merry Murderesses cited in CHICAGO’s “Cell Block Tango.”
36—The overture that contains no songs from the famous film from which the stage show was adapted is GIGI, which chose to feature its new Lerner and Loewe songs.
37—Two Best Musical Tony-winners that won their prizes nine years apart — A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC (1973) and NINE (1982) — both start their overtures with a lot of la-la-la’s.
38—Although Dorothy Loudon and Vincent Gardenia were both nominated for Tonys in BALLROOM, they had less to sing than two people who’d never before appeared on Broadway and never would again. They’re Lynn Roberts and Bernie Knee, who played the ballroom singers who crooned the tunes to which Michael Bennett’s ensemble danced.
As Mary Flynn sings in MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG, “Now you know!”
Peter Filichia also writes a column each Monday at www.broadwayselect.com. He can be heard most weeks of the year on www.broadwayradio.com.