Like the Naked Cowboy with a lasso (does he even lasso, bro?) I’m going to try to pull together a list of some of the Broadway nods and Easter eggs that make [title of show] the musical mayhem it is. Thankfully, “The Gray Lady” already compiled quite the compendium (including a gem of an original from co-creator Hunter Bell–check out the video in the sidebar):
As for some of those not mentioned in the article above, here’s what I found out from diving down the [title of show] rabbit hole:
- Jeff Bowen, Birdwatcher
[title of show] co-creator, Jeff Bowen appears to be a fan of our winged friends. While not a prominent Broadway reference or plot point, it informs a particular line in the first scene:
[Jeff] Look, I’m going to go to the park and do some bird watching. Let’s both brainstorm and I’ll come over later.
[Hunter] Okay. Bye.
Browsing Twitter (appropriately enough), I soon found @jefbowen and the plethora of posts about his Central Park finds:
Turns out he also created a website in 2016 called birdingwithjeff.com. I tried to check it out, but it turned up empty for me. I digress. Still, context to the show.
- Wonder Woman
Not only are the tunes of the show copyright of “INVISIBLE JET MUSIC,” but there’s also this gem in “Montage (Part One): September Song”
[Jeff] Was it Lynda Carter? I’ll die if it was Lynda Carter.
[Hunter] Would you stop? I’m trying to tell you we had a lot of important industry and producer people here tonight. Maybe it wasn’t our last show!
Further references to “Wonder Woman for President” and the like lead me to believe one of our intrepid heroes is a big fan of Princess Diana of Themyscira, Daughter of Hippolyta.
- Super-Awesome Sardi’s Caricature
In the song “Part of It All,” Jeff and Hunter pretty much lay it all on the table how awesome life would be if they could make a living doing what they love and take advantage of all the perks that go along with it. Aside from splurging on the cable, VIP tickets to Wicked and lunch dates with Bernadette Peters, they long for “a night to stare at your super-awesome Sardi’s caricature.” You might have heard of the Manhattan restaurant that got its humble start in 1921 moving to its current location (234 West 44th St) in 1927 and features the mugs of hundreds of show-biz celebs adorning the walls. Also getting a nod in another famous show about a show (The Producers) and a show about nothing (Seinfeld), Sardi’s is the birthplace of the Tony Award. Per Wikipedia:
after Antoinette Perry‘s death in 1946, her partner, theatrical producer and director Brock Pemberton, was eating lunch at Sardi’s when he came up with the idea of a theater award to be given in Perry’s honor. For many years Sardi’s was the location where Tony Award nominations were announced.
- The Vineyard, Off-Broadway
It’s where lots of things are happening (per the song “Montage [Part Three]: Development Medley”), but in reality, that’s pretty true. Billing itself as “New York’s home for bold theatre,” it’s a non-profit company at 108 East 15th in Manhattan where both [title of show] and the [title of show]-referenced Avenue Q had their debut before hitting the Great White Way. From its first production in 1981 to this fall’s upcoming Good Grief the Vinyard Theatre and its contributors have earned two Pulitzer Prizes, five Tony Awards and 23 Obie Awards.
[Hunter] (sung) What if this show won a Tony? What if this show won a Tony Award? Papa, would that change the way you see your little boy now…
While Mr. Bell will have to keep fantasizing about collecting the hardware, [title of show] did earn a nomination in 2009 for Best Book of a Musical, ultimately coming up short against that year’s powerhouse Billy Elliot. Nonetheless, despite wondering whether his buddy ever sits on the “terlet” (toilet) thinking about winning even an Obie, that turned out to be more of a reality than a pipe dream (had to) as the group picked up the Special Citation win in 2006.
Awards or no, you’ll certainly be #winning if you score tickets to see our production of [title of show] July 20-August 4 at the Weber Center. Tickets at webercenterarts.org. #shamelessplug
Stay tuned for (a more personal) Reference Roundup – Part 2 later this week!