Are you pronouncing these Broadway terms wrong?
"Bernstein." "Reprise." "Fierstein." "La Cage Aux Folles." How do you say them?
Welcome to the monthly FREE issue of The Broadway Maven’s Weekly Blast. The full paid weekly version is $5/month or $36/year.
This week, The Broadway Maven has a Weekly Blast but no classes.
This Weekly Blast includes:
A) an ESSAY about Broadway terms that are frequently mis-pronounced;
B) a RETROSPECTIVE about the late Angela Lansbury’s greatest Broadway roles;
C) a Broadway Maven YouTube GEM about the rock’n’ roll roots of Grease;
D) a VIDEO QUIZ about Broadway opening numbers;
E) a POLL about Broadway Maven student demographics; and
F) LAST BLASTS about Phantom of the Opera and Next to Normal.
(Last Blasts are a new FREE Weekly Blast feature: quick witty, thought-provoking, or challenging thoughts about Broadway shows.)
Are you pronouncing these Broadway terms wrong?
• The last syllable of the names of Leonard Bernstein and Oscar Hammerstein rhyme with fine -- not with mean.
• Gypsy composer Jule Stein's first name is pronounced "Julie."
• Speaking of Gypsy, the force of nature in that show is never referred to as "Mama Rose." She's "Madame Rose" in the musical.
• A reappearing song in a musical is known as a reprise, which is pronounced "re-PREEZ," not "re-PRIZE."
• The last word in the title La Cage Aux Folles rhymes with "dull." Which is something La Cage is not.
• The vowels in the last name of the creator of THAT show, Harvey Fierstein, are pronounced "I before E": FIRE-STEEN.
• Finally, it's not exactly a point of pronunciation, but Broadway people really don't like recordings of their work to be referred to with the film-oriented term "soundtrack." Instead, the phrase "original cast album" is correct.
Angela Lansbury, who died Tuesday at age 96, had a storied career as a television, cinema, and Broadway actress. Here are her most important musical theater roles:
4. Mame was Lansbury’s first smash hit, in 1966. She played the madcap aunt of the title role, whose joie de vivre upends a young boy’s life.
Every great musical theater actress, it seems, takes a crack at the role of Madame Rose in Gypsy. Lansbury’s turn came in 1974, to great acclaim.
She originated the role of Mrs. Lovett in 1979’s Sweeney Todd, playing the role of the cannibalistic meat-pie saleswoman with wicked relish. An absolute classic.
But her most significant role, I would argue, was as Mrs. Potts in Disney’s 1991 animated feature Beauty and the Beast. The movie introduced the musical theater form to millions of children, and Lansbury’s rendition of the title song is one of the sweetest moments in the history of animated musicals — or musicals in general.
Broadway Maven YouTube GEM: Here, Broadway Maven co-host Mateo Chavez Lewis explains (at his piano) the ways Grease incorporated classic rock chords to create its 1950s sound.
Video QUIZ: This video (similar to some of the ones we’ll use in next month’s trivia parties) tests student knowledge of Broadway opening numbers. We name 25 shows, you name 25 opening numbers. Good luck!
Until January 2021, The Broadway Maven course was called “Jewish Culture 101” and the students were overwhelmingly Jewish. Please help me understand the changing demographics of the class by answering the following question:
High school theater teachers and drama coaches can now get a year’s FREE subscription to the Weekly Blast (a $36 value) just by signing up. Send an E-mail to BenkofStaff@gmail.com with the name of your school and your role there, and we’ll add you to the weekly distribution list.
Join the Broadway Maven and friends for any or all of three challenging and fun FREE trivia parties at the beginning of November. Name that tune, identify the show, fill in the lyric, and much more. Lots of video clips, and as always co-host music educator Mateo Chavez Lewis will be on hand at his piano for added fun. The three parties are all different.
Warning: Broadway Maven students can be pretty fierce competitors.
ALL ACCESS Passholders do not need to register. Just show up.
Note: links to register for ALL classes are ALWAYS available at TheBroadwayMaven.com.
• Sunday, October 30 Mamma Mia! watch party (Noon ET ONLY, ALL-ACCESS Only)
• Tuesday, November 1 Guest speaker Stu Lewis on Jewish Broadway beyond Fiddler (Noon and 7 pm ET, ALL-ACCESS Only)
• Sunday, November 6 Trivia Party! (Noon ET, FREE)
• Monday, November 7 Trivia Party! (Noon and 7 pm ET, FREE)
• Tuesday, November 8 The Music Man (Noon and 7 pm ET, Registration opens soon)
Reminder: ALL-ACCESS Passholders do not need to sign up or pay for anything. Just show up!
LAST BLAST: In the auction that begins The Phantom of the Opera, each item is assigned a “lot number.” For example, Lot 663 was an opera poster and Lot 665 was a music box with an attached monkey. Well, what lot was the chandelier? 666, the sign of the devil.
LAST BLAST: When Next to Normal lyricist Brian Yorkey visited The Broadway Maven in March, he confirmed that the name “Walton Way”, where the Goodmans used to live before Diana’s descent into madness, was a reference to the wholesome TV family The Waltons.
The Broadway Maven, David Benkof, helps students further their appreciation of musical theater through his classes, his YouTube Channel, and his Weekly Blast. Contact him at DavidBenkof@gmail.com.
It's only an "original cast album" if it indeed is the original cast. That doesn't include such recordings as revivals, recordings only made in the studio (not based on a stage production), or technically, even recordings not made with the full original cast, with prominent original cast members missing (the 1960 On The Town, the recording of Rags, etc). So I'd take "original" out of the equation, but even then...
Yes, thanks for expanding that. (I knew it, of course, but was making a different point.)