Broadway Adventures: Things Musicals Have “Ruined” For Us – Part One

We were going to write an introduction for this post, but in the midst of trying to find GIFs to include in this post to make it more fun and less word-heavy, we discovered this Tumblr post, and we couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

The one thing we would like to add, however, is that we make so many references to Broadway musicals that we started a “Broadway reference” jar in an attempt to stop making so many allusions. Every time we make a reference to a Broadway musical, we have to put at least 50 cents in the jar. It’s been months since we began the jar, and it has only helped slightly.

Bandstand

Frank Sinatra: To most people, Frank Sinatra is one of the greatest, most classic singers of all time. While we don’t necessarily disagree, we can’t help but think to insult him a la Donny Novitski singing about himself, how great he is, how much he deserves, and how much better he is than Frank Sinatra. According to Novitski in his self-titled song, “Donny Novitski,” Sinatra “can’t play the piano,” “can’t read music―the fake!,” “skipped out on the army,” and “half the time, sings out of tune―he’s so flat!” So yeah.  We mean you no disrespect, Frank Sinatra, but we can’t help but think of Corey Cott singing “he’s so flat!” when we see or hear anything about Sinatra.

Paprika: Paprika is a fairly common spice, but to us, it’s much more than that. It’s one of the funniest parts of Bandstand. The spice reminds us of the joke June Adams makes to Donny after he and her daughter, Julia Trojan, see her deviled eggs, covered in entirely too much paprika. She says the top came off the paprika shaker, so she jokes, “You know what they say: You can’t put the genie back in the bottle!”

“Welcome home”: This is probably the most common saying in this blog post. People say it all the time when people return home from various places and events, like vacation. But this saying has a deeper meaning for us and other Bandstand fans. “Welcome Home” is a very powerful and moving song from the show that’s a tribute to the veterans returning home from World War II. So we often think of Laura Osnes’s beautiful voice singing this song her Bandstand character, Julia Trojan, wrote for her Donny Nova Band bandmates.

Hamilton

New Jersey: If you’re American, you’re probably familiar with New Jersey, the little state west of New York. If you’ve seen Hamilton or heard the cast recording, then New Jersey is more than the state to the west of New York. It’s “where everything is legal.” It’s also―SORT OF A SPOILER ALERT!―where both Phillip and Alexander Hamilton die. So sometimes someone will say something about New Jersey, and we’ll just sing “Everything is legal in New Jersey” like in the song “Blow Us All Away.”

“I’m sorry―what?”: This is a phrase we’ve used before Hamilton‘s existence, but ever since we familiarized ourselves with the Hamilton cast recording, we cannot help but say the phrase in the same manner that Hamilton does in “One Last Time” in response to learning that George Washington is stepping down and will not be running for president again.

“What’d I miss?”: Another phrase we used before Hamilton, we can no longer ask each other “What’d I miss?” without saying it with the same flair that Thomas Jefferson uses in the song of the same name when he returns to the United States to be the secretary of state following his time in France.

Hello, Dolly!

Elegance: To most, “elegance” is simply the noun for elegant. It’s about being fancy, graceful, and proper. But to us, it’s a song from Hello, Dolly! We can’t help but think of Cornelius Hackl, Barnaby Tucker, Irene Molloy, and Minnie Fay singing about how they’ve got elegance. Cornelius and Barnaby set the scene by claiming that walking around New York City, instead of taking transportation, is what elegant people did, but they’re really making the argument as a way to save money.

Whales: Everyone knows what whales are. They’re large ocean mammals with blowholes that let out water. But we often think of the stuffed whale from Barnum’s museum when we hear about whales, because it’s what Barnaby is most excited to see in New York City. Initially, Barnaby is hesitant about taking an adventurous, impromptu trip to the city with Cornelius, but the stuffed whale helps convince him.

Pudding: Pudding makes us think of one of two things: Supernatural or Hello, Dolly! This isn’t the time or place to explain why pudding reminds us of Supernatural―we’ll save that for another time. But in Hello, Dolly!, Barnaby asks Cornelius how he’ll know they’re on an adventure because he’s never been on one before. Cornelius tells Barnaby “pudding” is the code word so they’ll know they’re on an adventure. So we’ve definitely said “Pudding!” just like Barnaby does in the show when we’re reminded of pudding or even just think of being on an adventure.

Legally Blonde: The Musical

Omigod/Oh my God: We don’t always say “Oh my God!” But if we do use it for something we’re excited about, it’ll be in the same high-pitched, enthusiastic tone that matches that of the Delta Nu sorority girls in the song “Omigod You Guys” as they express their excitement for Elle’s (assumed) upcoming engagement.

“So much better”: This is a phrase we didn’t realize was “ruined” for us until we had lunch with an old friend. Ashley coincidentally said “so much better” when talking about Legally Blonde: The Musical, and right after saying it, she realized she had inadvertently referenced the show. It refers to the song of the same name in which Elle learns that she landed one of the competitive, coveted internship spots with Professor Callahan and how it’s better than her entire past romantic relationship with Warner.

“Chip on your shoulder”: “Chip on your shoulder” isn’t something we say but have heard on TV shows and in movies. But ever since we watched the musical version of Legally Blonde, we can’t help but think of when Emmett sings the song “Chip on My Shoulder” to Elle. Emmett tells Elle that the chip on his shoulder is how he earned and worked for his success and how perhaps she should get one, too, if she wants to do well also.

Miss Saigon

The name Kim: Neither of us has met anyone named Kim, so the name Kim honestly just makes us think of Miss Saigon and its protagonist, especially since Miss Saigon was the first show we saw on Broadway. Plus, we’re Filipino, and Kim has been played by quite a few Filipinas. So sometimes when we see or hear the name Kim, we’ll yell “Kim!!!!” like Chris, the G.I. that Kim falls in love with, does in the show.

The “American dream”: The American dream is a fairly common concept. It’s mentioned a lot in different TV shows and movies, and as children of Filipinos who emigrated to the U.S., we’re familiar with the American dream. But now that we’ve seen Miss Saigon, the American dream just reminds us of The Engineer’s big number, which is called “The American Dream.” Brilliantly played by fellow Filipino Jon Jon Briones, The Engineer sings about the extravagant life he’ll live once he’s in the U.S.

Helicopters: While pretty much everyone who isn’t a baby knows what a helicopter is, seeing them isn’t as common as seeing an airplane. So when we do see one, even if it’s on TV or something, we’ll immediately think of the iconic helicopter scene in Miss Saigon where Chris is yelling for Kim, just like we mentioned earlier.

Newsies

Santa Fe: Are you really a musical theatre fan if Santa Fe doesn’t make you think of at least one musical? Whether it’s the city or the Hyundai Santa Fe car, whenever we hear that name, we just think about Newsies and how Jack Kelly just wants to go to Santa Fe.

Nickels: Oftentimes, getting or finding a nickel just makes us think of Crutchie sheepishly saying “You don’t got to be insulting. I got a nickel.” to Katherine, a journalist in search of a story and an opportunity to prove herself in her profession, when she finds the newsies after they decide to strike.

“That’s disgusting.”: This is a phrase anyone could say on a relatively normal basis since it’s quite a simple statement. But whenever we say it, all we can think of is Davey saying “That’s disgusting” to Jack after he and Les spit on their hands and shake them. And then we say it in the same manner and tone as Davey.

“Seize the day”: While it’s a fairly common expression, we’ve never really used it before watching Newsies. Now if we see it on a notebook or a poster or anything, we’ll be like, ‘OMG. I need this because Newsies.” and/or start humming or singing “Seize the Day.” And if we could dance, we would 100 percent start doing the choreography. We would find a newspaper and do fouette turns on it like Michael Dameski does as Tommy Boy at the end of the number in Newsies Live.

Money back guarantee: “Money back guarantee” is a phrase used in a lot of commercials. We never had enough money to buy any of those things that have money back guarantees in those commercials, and we still don’t. But now that we’ve watched Newsies Live too many times to count, the words money back guarantee make us think of when―SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT!―Jack returns the money Pulitzer bribed him with to side against the union and the strike.

Oysters: We don’t eat oysters, so before Newsies, oysters were just random seafood to us. Yes, we’d heard of the phrase “The world is your oyster,” but now if we hear that saying or something else about oysters, all we can think about it is Race trying to say, “The world is your oyster,” but actually saying “The woild is ya erster,” thus confusing all the newsies and Katherine in the process.

Seltzer: Seltzer isn’t an uncommon thing. It’s just unfamiliar to us, especially growing up in a Filipino household. But in Newsies, it’s 1899, and seltzer is a common drink that was expensive for the time.  So if and when we hear “seltzer,” we recall the moment in the deli after the newsies decide to strike when Mr. Jacobi is giving the newsies drinks and he says, “Who’s the big spender that ordered the seltzer?” Then Albert goes, “Over here!” to which Jacobi responds with, “That’ll be two cents.” And Albert is appalled and mentions, “Two cents for a glass of seltzer? Just gimme a water!” So Jacobi gives him a water and says, “How did I ever see that comin’?”

Statement of purpose: I don’t think we’d heard this phrase before watching Newsies, but now we’ve heard it a few times since first watching the musical. So of course now the term just reminds us of when the newsies are in the process of forming a union and Jack asks Davey what you need to a union. One of the things Davey says is a statement of purpose, and Jack says, “Sorry. I must’ve left that in my other pants.” Then Davey explains he only sort of knows what it is, saying “I don’t know. Reasons for forming the union.” or something like that.

“What’cha thinking?”: This is a question you could ask someone relatively easy in everyday, normal conversation. It’s something we usually ask each other when we’re trying to think of what or where to eat. But when we ask this question, we immediately think of Les asking Jack this same question when Jack’s trying to figure out what he and the newsies should do after the price of papes go up. We don’t always say it just like Les does, but sometimes it just comes out that way.

“Once and for all”: This isn’t something we ourselves say but rather something we’ll hear in a movie or TV show, and when we hear it, we just start thinking of the song from Newsies. We’ll be like, “So where are Jack, Katherine, and the newsies printing their pape about the children’s crusade?” It’s like we get this sudden urge to be defiant and start a revolution of some sort.

West Side Story

“It hurts!”: During “Dance at the Gym,” one of the Jets jokingly proclaims, “It hurts! It hurts!” after the teacher tells everyone that it won’t hurt for them to try doing the “get-together dance.” It would potentially involve members of the rival gangs Jets and Sharks to dance with one another, and they weren’t having it, prompting the fake pain proclamation. Now, we can’t help but think of the comedic line when we proclaim our own pain or hear someone else express such.

Snapping: Snapping makes us think of one of two things: Thanos and the Jets. They just snap so much during the show! It’s present in the prologue. It’s in “Cool.” Riff snaps at Grizella before “Dance at the Gym” (at least in Lyric Opera of Chicago’s production―we can’t speak for other productions and don’t know if it’s actually in the script). They do it with such swagger and style, and it’s so effortlessly in sync.

The word “cool”: One of the songs that the Jets sings is titled “Cool,” and it details how the members of the gang need to “just play it cool, boy,” because they can’t let their emotions get the best of them. They’re tired of being called hoodlums and being looked down upon for their gang.

The name “Maria”: Thanks to West Side Story, Maria is an iconic name that will never be the same to us―especially after hearing Corey Cott’s phenomenal rendition of the song live numerous times. After his love-at-first-sight meeting with Maria, Tony sings all about how beautiful that name is, that sound of her name is. It makes us envious of anyone named “Maria,” because they could just be like, “This song is about me!” And we would have loved for this song to be about either of us when Corey Cott sang it!

“Who knows?”: Such a common phrase, “Who knows?” can no longer be said or thought of in the same way because of the song “Something’s Coming.” In the song, Tony sings about this feeling he has about something great happening to him. He begins the song with “Who knows?,” and now we always pose that question as those we are Tony, expressing our optimism for something great coming.

“Around the corner”: The other day, Ashley heard someone say this phrase, and she instantly went to Amanda to tell her about it. Without context, this seems a bit odd, but it was worth mentioning because it’s another reference to a lyric in “Something’s Coming.”

Advertisements

Broadway Adventures: How Lyric Opera Made Us Say ‘Te Adoro, West Side Story’

Ashley and Amanda at Lyric Opera of Chicago for West Side Story

In middle school, we were obsessed with High School Musical. We bought all the magazines, every edition of all the movies, got all the soundtracks, and made our mom buy us all the shirts. We learned the songs and could sing them by heart. We learned the dance moves and would perform them as the movie played. It was the first time we loved a musical. But, despite our love for the High School Musical trilogy, we surprisingly didn’t develop an interest in musical theatre because of it.

It wasn’t until 2011 that we first became a fan of a non-Disney musical/movie musical, West Side Story. In season three of Glee, West Side Story was the musical being performed on the show, so we were exposed to the show’s basics and some of its songs. Sometime after that, our brother bought Amanda a DVD of the West Side Story movie, so we got to fully experience that story. It was cool to hear the songs in the context of the show’s narrative instead of song covers in the context of Glee’s storylines. A few years later, we had expressed an interest in seeing a live production of the show when the national tour returned to Chicago, but it never became a reality. Instead, nearly a decade would pass until we got to see a live production of the show.

On May 2, we saw our first live production of West Side Story when we were invited by Lyric Opera of Chicago to attend the final dress rehearsal as social media insiders for their production of the iconic musical. We had been waiting for this production for over a year and were thrilled to finally see the show live—especially considering our relatively newfound love for Broadway musicals. (It only took us a decade to finally realize how great musical theatre is, but better late than never, right?)

Continue reading

Broadway Adventures: My My, A Whole New Journey To the Past!

The last few weeks have been rather busy for us as we ended March by going to an Alan Menken concert, began April with watching the national tour production of Anastasia, and watched a regional production of Mamma Mia! about two weeks ago.

On March 30, we attended “A Whole New World of Alan Menken” to hear the legendary composer and songwriter―best known for his work with Disney―perform some of his most popular songs at the Auditorium Theatre in downtown Chicago. He played a little bit of everything, from “Under the Sea” from The Little Mermaid to “Suddenly Seymour” from Little Shop of Horrors to the skit song Captain America and the dancers perform to in Captain America: The First Avenger. He also told some stories about his career, how he collaborated with other well-known songwriters, how various songs came to be, and how he got to work on certain projects.

A lot of what we already knew about Menken concerned his involvement with various projects, but we didn’t know much about the collaborations he had or much about his personal life. So it was really great to learn more about a person whose music has brought us so much joy throughout the years. It was also cool learning more about his work that were unfamiliar with, such as Sister Act the Musical and the television show Galavant. We’re especially appreciative of the time he took to perform a show in Chicago, because he said his mom had just passed a few days prior.

Continue reading

Broadway Adventures: Lottery Luck with Dear Evan Hansen

Dear Amanda and Ashley,

February 20 was a good day, and here’s why: because on that Wednesday, that Wednesday you watched Dear Evan Hansen at the Nederlander Theatre and sat in the orchestra after winning the ticket lottery. And it’s a good thing , because you both knew it would be the only way you’d get to watch the national tour production during its Chicago stop.

When the presale started, neither of you had enough money to buy tickets, so you had to wait for the general sale. But then you saw the ticket prices, and they were absurd. Neither of you could afford to pay over $100 for a single seat in the balcony―on a weekday! And then you kept checking ticket availability, and it was basically sold out with the exception of a few Wednesday matinees. So you both decided the lottery would be your best bet at getting tickets. Who knows how many people you’d be competing and entering with, but why not try?

Fast forward a few months to February 11, and you both set daily alarms on your phones to ensure neither of you would forget to enter the lottery right when it opened at 9 a.m. every single day (except Sundays because there are no shows on Mondays, so why would you waste your time to set a useless alarm only to realize there was no lottery to enter that day?).

Eight days, nine shows, and twenty-one rejections later, one of the emails finally said something other than “Lottery Results: Try Again”. Rather, one of Ashley’s said “STANDBY”.

Continue reading

Broadway Adventures: Songs of Female Empowerment

Photo credit Joan Marcus

Songs in musicals are not only entertaining but play integral roles in telling stories, explaining situations, and detailing how characters are feeling. In honor of International Women’s Day, we’re featuring some songs from Broadway musicals that are sung by female characters and show strong emotions while conveying a message of feminism and female empowerment.

“I’d Rather Be Me” – Barrett Wilbert Reed (Mean Girls: The Musical)

This angsty song is all about individuality, staying true to yourself, and forgetting about the stereotypes society has placed on women and girls. In the song, Wilbert Reed, who plays Janis, literally sings “And here’s my right finger to how girls should behave.” Her right finger referring to her middle finger, this line is the essence of the song. It echos the idea that Janis would rather be who she wants to be, regardless of what others think, than to be friends with someone who would disagree with that idea, someone who would pull her down.

“For Good” – Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth (Wicked)

Perhaps the most popular duet (no pun intended) from the hit show, “For Good” is a wonderful example of the power of a strong female friendship. They literally sing “Because I have known you, I have been changed for good,” and isn’t that the goal of all friendships, especially those with your girl gang? Women should lift up and support one another and help make the world a better place, and Elphaba and Glinda have shown us that we can do it one friendship at a time.

Continue reading

Broadway Adventures: A Terrific Time and Twin Tams at Miss Saigon

In June 2017, we saw our first show on Broadway, Miss Saigon. The show was a couple months into its Broadway revival engagement after transferring from the West End in London. Going in, we knew nearly nothing about the musical, but coming out, we were thoroughly impressed by its compelling and emotional story and complex characters.

After developing more of an interest in Broadway later that year, we found out we could buy the Blu-Ray of the 25th anniversary performance from its West End revival. We thought that would be a good present for our mom, who saw the show with us, while also being a good gift for ourselves. Since then, we’ve watched the Blu-Ray several times and listened to the revival live recording several times. Knowing this, one could plausibly think we wouldn’t have to see the show again―after all, we own the Blu-Ray and can watch it whenever we want. While that reasoning is absolutely correct, it didn’t stop us from seeing the national tour production of Miss Saigon in Chicago on November 20.

Continue reading

Broadway Adventures: Fun, Firsts, and Filipinos at Hello, Dolly!

Pudding!

That’s the code word Cornelius Hackl tells Barnaby Tucker they’ll to indicate they are having an adventure in Hello, Dolly! It’s quite fitting because our blog name is The Adventures of Amanda and Ashley, after all, and watching the national tour of Hello, Dolly! certainly was an adventure that made us want to yell “Pudding!”

Continue reading