OK, so maybe you haven't heard of the play - it is a wonderful one - but I'm pretty sure you've heard of Kevin Bacon. A few years ago, a game came out called "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" which pretty much followed the idea in the play, only it pertains specifically to how all of Hollywod is connected to Mr. Bacon by six films or fewer. For example: Sally Field to Kevin Bacon: Sally Field was in Steel Magnolias with Julia Roberts (1 degree). Julia Roberts was in Flatliners with Kevin Bacon (2 degrees). There are two degrees of separation between Sally Field and Kevin Bacon. Get it?
So, I got to thinking... Six Degrees: The Broadway Edition. It would follow the same premise, only there would have to be a few adjustments, as live theatre is not permanent like a film.
1. Each degree can only have to do with the original cast and production team of a play or musical or play revival or musical revival.
2. It can also have only to do with the original theatre where a production opened.
In short: Each degree can be based solely on what would have appeared on the Broadway Opening Night Playbill. (Thanks to reader David for bringing up the need for this clarification!)
These would be examples of valid "degrees." James Gandolfini in God of Carnage. Patti LuPone in the 1987 revival of Anything Goes. The 2009 revival of West Side Story opened at the Palace Theatre.
- Patti LuPone played Reno Sweeney in the 1987 revival of Anything Goes and Ethel Merman played Reno Sweeney in the original production of Anything Goes.
These would NOT be valid "degrees." Sally Field in The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? The 39 Steps at the Helen Hayes Theatre.
- Chita Rivera was in Kiss of the Spider Woman and Vanessa Williams was in Kiss of the Spider Woman.
Easy: Adam Pascal to Kristin Chenoweth
Adam Pascal was in the original cast of RENT with Idina Menzel. (1 degree) Indina Menzel was in Wicked with Kristn Chenoweth (2 degrees).
Medium: Patti LuPone to Montego Glover
Patti LuPone was in the 2008 revival of Gypsy with Laura Benanti. (1 degree) Laura Benanti was in the 2002 revival of Into the Woods with Chad Kimball. (2 degrees) Chad Kimball is in Memphis with Montego Glover. (3 degrees)
Difficult: Wicked to Grind
Wicked starred Joel Grey. (1 degree) Joel Grey starred in the revival of Chicago with Mary Ann Lamb. (2 degrees) Mary Ann Lamb was in The Goodbye Girl with Carol Woods. (3 degrees) Carol Woods starred in Grind. (4 degrees)
NOT ALL DEGREES HAVE TO BE WITH ACTORS. THEY CAN BE WITH DIRECTORS, DESIGNERS, or even the THEATRE. AND THE NUMBER OF DEGREES ISN'T WHAT DETERMINES THE LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY.
Here are a few for you to try:
1. Spring Awakening to American Idiot.
2. Billy Elliot to Victor/Victoria.
3. Pippin to Sweet Charity (orginal production)
4. Angela Lansbury to Matt Cavenaugh.
5. Twyla Tharp to the revival of Big River.
6. Barbara Walsh to Xanadu.
7. The Will Rogers Follies to Mary Stuart Masterson.
8. Shrek: The Musical to Disney's Beauty and the Beast.
9. Rosie O'Donnell to Rock of Ages.
10. Jerry Orbach to the 2007 revival of Company.
Look for the answers in this Sunday's Bits and Pieces.
Have any you want to stump the rest of us with? Send them to me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you! Jeff