Monday, July 18, 2011

Broadway Vocabulary Quiz

School may be out, but a theatre fan never stops learning!  Today, as I was listening to "On the Verge" from Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, I was reminded of just how much I love the word "ululating" and how it tickles me that a few seconds after the gals sing the word, someone actually ululates!  Then, of course, my mind wandered and I began to think of all the really interesting vocabulary I've picked up over my years as a theatre patron.  Some words that I become infatuated with I already knew the definition of, but really loved how it was used in the context of a song.  Others were completely new to me and had me scurrying to the OED for understanding and piece of mind.

Here, with the help of Mike, who supplied some words from shows he knows inside and out, are 10 words from the lyrics of Broadway shows.  I've given you the word in a sentence (or just a line or two from the song) and your job is to a) match the word to the definition, and b) to match the word to the song and show it comes from.

Example: "Character 1: And don'tcha feel all warm and cozy, Watching people out in the rain!  Character 2: You bet!  Character 1: That's...  Schadenfreude!" Schadenfreude - Happiness at the misfortune of others.  "Schadenfreude" from Avenue Q

  1. "A bombs, H bombs, P bombs, Q bombs, Chinese checks, Hindus, Bindus, Italianos, Polacks, Germans..."
  2. "Defaming our poor Wizard with her calumnies and lies!"
  3. What's my secret? Frankly, dear, forgive my candor.  Family secret, all to do with herbs.  Things like being careful with your coriander.That's what makes the gravy grander."
  4. "Each in her style a Delilah reborn, each a gem, beautiful diadem of beautiful - welcome them - these beautiful girls!"
  5. "His need were few, his room was bare: a lavabo and a fancy chair..."
  6. "Up a steep and very narrow stairway, To the voice like a metronome..."
  7. "Come with me.  Walk with me.  Walking in my city.  Una passeggiata, you and I.  See the faces from the daytime talking in the evening."
  8. "From the barren desert of the heathen camel trade, for our gentlemen friends: the seraglio of a Hashemite sheik!"
  9. "Shut up!  Or Not. Let go, and pretty soon you're ululating like a banshee..."
  10. "To hand-crafted beers made in local breweries, to yoga, to yogurt, to rice and beans and cheese.  To leather, to dildos, to curry vindaloo.  To huevos rancheros and Maya Angelou!"

a.  a harem.
b.  an instrument designed to mark exact time by a regularly repeated tick.
c.  the act of uttering false charges or misrepresentations maliciously calculated to harm another's reputation.
d.  howling, wailing.
e.  a washbasin and a tank with a spigot.
f.   a leisurely stroll.
g.  a dish of Indian origin made with meat or shellfish, garlic, and wine or vinegar.
h.  a crown.
i.   a point; the convergence of Yoga, Vedanta and Tantra.
j.  an Old World annual herb of the carrot family used as a flavoring.


A.  "Ain't Got No" - Hair
B.  "At the Ballet" - A Chorus Line
C.  "The Ballad of Sweeney Todd" - Sweeney Todd
D.  "Beautiful Girls" - Follies
E.  "Come Look at the Freaks" - Side Show
F.  "God, That's Good!" - Sweeney Todd
G.  "La Vie Boeheme" - RENT
H.  "On the Verge" - Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
I.  "Passeggiata" - Light in the Piazza
J.  "Thank Goodness" - Wicked

Look for the answers later this week.
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