Act One, which has been adapted by James Lapine for a Broadway production in early 2014, is an autobiographical work by a well-known writer/producer/director who was active on Broadway from the 1930s through the early 1960s. Who wrote Act One?
It was Moss Hart, who wrote You Can’t Take It with You and The Man Who Came to Dinner, amongst other comedies, with George S. Kaufman. Act One is his rags to riches story, which culminates with his first success, Once in a Lifetime, which he also wrote with Kaufman.
That was character actor Iggie Wolfington, who became well-known as a guest star on innumerable TV shows and was a life member of the prestigious Actors Studio. Buddy Hackett played the role in the movie.
This actor won the Tony and the Oscar for the same role and played that role a total of 4625 times on Broadway and in national tours. He died of lung cancer in 1985. Who is the actor and what was the role for which he was he most famous?
It was Kiss Me Kate, with music and lyrics by Cole Porter and book by Samuel and Bella Spewack. The award was presented in 1949, and Kiss Me Kate won four others Tonys, including Best Author and Best Composer.
If you said Barnum (1980), you were off, and if you said Sunset Boulevard (1994), you were way off. The first Broadway musical Close appeared in was Rex (1976) by Richard Rodgers and Sheldon Harnick. The musical was about England’s Henry VIII.
The terms downstage and upstage come from the English Renaissance when stages were raked (at an angle and rising as one got further away from the audience). This was useful in that it allowed those who were further away from the audience to still be seen. Thus, in those days, if an actor crossed towards the audience, they were walking down the slope of the stage, and when they crossed away from the audience, they were walking up the slope.
If you thought it was writing partner Oscar Hammerstein, you’re wrong. Hammerstein wrote the lyrics. The book was created by the team of Russell Crouse and Howard Lindsay. Crouse and Lindsay were brought on board for the project first because producers envisioned that the show would be a play and not a musical. After some time, they decided the story would best be presented as a musical. Crouse and Russell were retained and Rodgers and Hammerstein added to the project.
In King Lear what is the name of the daughter who refuses to declare her love for her father publicly (as her other sisters have) despite the fact that of the three she is the only one who truly loves him.
That would be Michael Bennett. The project was first started by dancers Michon Peacock and Tony Stevens. Bennet was eventually invited to observe. He soon took over and started creating the backstage musical whose foundation was established in interviews with dancers.
Israel Isidore Beilin is the proper name of Irving Berlin. Berlin adopted his new name after a printer misspelled his name on a published piece of music he had written. Israel Isidore Beilin liked Irving Berlin and took the name as his own.
In Shakespeare’s time the cheapest seats in the house were not seats at all. They were standing spots in front of and on the sides of the stage. What was the area called in which spectators stood and how much did a ticket cost to stand in that area?
The words are “What You Will.” The entire title of the comedy is Twelfth Night or What You Will. Why “or What You Will?” As it is with so many of Shakespeare’s plays, there are various opinions for this with one being the second title reinforces the light comic nature of the play. Twelfth Night is the twelfth day of Christmas in England and in Shakespeare’s time it was a great celebration and a time when rules could be broken and boundaries crossed. Hence, “or what you will” becomes an acknowledgment for one doing their own thing whatever that may be. Party on, Bill!
Lorraine Hansberry found the title for her play A Raisin in the Sun in a line in Langston Hughes’s poem “Harlem: A Dream Deferred.” In the poem, which was written in 1951, Hughes asks whether a “dream deferred”—a dream put on hold—withers up “[l]ike a raisin in the sun.”
Tennessee Williams was born Thomas Lanier Williams. When he was a young man he began using the first name Tennessee. That was the state where he spent some important time being nurtured by his grandparents.
Simon has won four Tonys. The first was for The Odd Couple (1965), the second for Biloxi Blues (1985) and the third for Lost in Yonkers (1991). The other Tony was a special award for his contribution to theatre (1975).
Astaire performed in vaudeville, on Broadway and in London with his sister Adele. They were a team from 1905- 1935. The act broke up when Adele entered into her first marriage, which was to Lord Charles Arthur Francis Cavendish, a son of the Duke of Devonshire.
The song was Swanee. Back then people bought sheet music to play hit songs on their pianos. Swanee, which was written for the revue Demi-Tasse in 1919, sold millions of copies. The song, which was written in 10 minutes with lyricist Irving Caesar, became the signature tune for Al Jolson.
The musical is No, No, Nanette. It is popular legend that Ruth was sold to the Yanks so that Boston owner Harry Frazee could finance the musical, which did end up being a huge hit. However, this is not true. Ruth was sold so that Frazee could finance My Lady Friends, which is the play on which the musical No, No, Nanette is based.
A Greek playwright from the 5th century BCE is credited with adding the third actor into scenes, which created all sorts of opportunities for conflict (two’s company and three IS a crowd). Which playwright did this?
That would be Cordelia, who despite the fact that she loves her father deeply refuses to make a show of it as his other daughters have. His other daughters, Regan and Goneril, are insincere when they express their love for him.
Early in her career Bernadette Peters appeared in numerous shows in which she won praise. One was a musical that was a parody of the Busby Berkeley movies of the 1930s. She played Ruby in the show. What show was it?
The title is Saturday Night. The show, with a book by brothers Julius J. Epstein and Philip G. Epstein and based on their play Front Porch in Flatbush, was written in 1957 and was to be produced on Broadway but the lead producer died and the production was cancelled.
The answer is Neil Patrick Harris. Harris, who will play the lead this year in the Broadway premiere of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, has hosted the Tonys on his own four times. Nathan Lane has also been a host four times but three of those times he had at least one cohost.
In the original Broadway production of The Subject Was Roses, which opened May 26, 1964, two young actors at different times played the lead role of Timmy Cleary. Both would become big stars. The original Timmy would star in at least one apocalyptic film and the other would graduate to become a major leading man in the movies even though he did not look like your typical leading man. Who were these actors?
The ancient Greek theatre had a space called the orchestra. But the orchestra in that theatre space was in a different location and served a different purpose than today’s orchestra, which is the primary seating area located on the first floor audience level. What was the orchestra in the ancient Greek theatre and where was it located?
The orchestra in the ancient Greek theatre, which is also called the “dancing circle,” was a large circular area and served as the primary playing space. It was perfect for large Greek choruses, dance segments and crowd scenes. It was also the closest space to the audience.
He is the only playwright to win three in five years! He won in 1936 for Idiot’s Delight, in 1939 for Abe Lincoln in Illinois, and in 1941 for There Shall be no Night. Only one other playwright has won three (Edward Albee) and one playwright, Eugene O’Neill, won four.
A gobo, which stands for “Go Before Optics,” is a pattern that is placed in from of a light source. When the lighting instrument is turned on the pattern is projected onto the stage floor or on a cyclorama upstage. Gobos are used to create abstract patterns, scenic elements, such as windows, and time of day, weather and time of year.
That was the courtroom drama A Few Good Men, which was based on the real-life experience of his sister who was with the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps and involved in a trial of a similar nature.
The musical Chicago is based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins which is also called Chicago. Watkins, a reporter, wrote the play in 1926, basing it on a trial she had covered in 1924. The play is a satire on police corruption, criminal celebrity and all that jazz.
What scenic and lighting designer created the sets and/or lights for innumerable plays and musicals on Broadway, including Street Scene, Winterset, Strange Interlude, Carousel, South Pacific, Guys and Dolls, The King and I, A Streetcar Named Desire, Death of a Salesman, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Gypsy, and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie?