Breadway Bound

Apr 5, 2019

In this music parody game, we took a classic Broadway musical, changed one letter in the title, and rewrote one of its songs to reflect that change. Not following? Read it slowly—you have to be more Into the Words.

Heard on Greta Lee And Leslye Headland: Valley Of The Russian Dolls.

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JONATHAN COULTON: This is NPR's ASK ME ANOTHER. I'm Jonathan Coulton. Now here's your host, Ophira Eisenberg.



Thank you, Jonathan.

Before the break, we met our contestants Kim and Paige. In our next game, we'll change one letter of a Broadway musical to make it completely different. For example, "Hello, Dolly!" would become "Hello, Molly!" to be about our intern's four years at Harvard.


EISENBERG: Poor intern, man.

Let's check with our contestants. Kim, recently, you and your fiance took a taxidermy class.

KIM SOUZA: Yes, we did.

EISENBERG: OK, nice. What did you make?

SOUZA: We made squirrels.

EISENBERG: You made squirrels.

SOUZA: Yeah.


EISENBERG: Where did you get the squirrels?

SOUZA: So they were rescued from a falconry range. They were frostbitten - or not frostbitten. They were in the freezer for too long. So the falcons couldn't eat them.

COULTON: When you say rescued...


COULTON: ...What do you mean?

SOUZA: I mean...

EISENBERG: 'Cause...

SOUZA: ...Now they can live eternally next to my TV.


EISENBERG: Yeah. Now they have a forever home.


EISENBERG: Paige, you and your family are really into playing dominoes. But you say you've done this your whole life, and it's all about cheating.



BOWMAN: So my dad and my sister - we play it on a glass-top table. And they would look under the table...


BOWMAN: ...Or they would kind of - you know, you pick them up when you don't have one that you need to play. That's a bad explanation. But they'd flip it up, and while I wasn't looking, they'd just move all the bad ones close to me. So when I drew, they were just doubles and doubles and doubles. So now my instinct is to cheat on everything.


EISENBERG: On everything?

BOWMAN: Everything.

COULTON: Well, now wait a minute.


EISENBERG: She did do well on that first game.

COULTON: She did do pretty well.


EISENBERG: (Laughter) Let's go to your next game. Oh, this is a combination music parody and word game called Breadway Bound.

COULTON: In each clue, we took a classic Broadway musical, changed one letter in its title and rewrote one of its songs to reflect that change. For example, if I sang a parody of defying gravity about basket weaving, you would answer, "Wicker."


COULTON: That's "Wicked" with one letter changed.

EISENBERG: Sounds tough, but the points are doubled.

Paige, stay in the lead, and you will go to our final round. Kim, you need to get more points or after every show you see from now on, you have to stand up and yell, it's the new "Hamilton."


EISENBERG: Take it away, Jonathan.

COULTON: Here we go.

(Singing) Respondez-vous, s’il vous plait. Let me know if you're attending, whether you're social or you're a shut-in, just check your inbox and click the button.



SOUZA: I feel like it's "Mamma Mia!" But I'm trying to figure out what the...

COULTON: I'll save you the time of figuring it out. It is not "Mamma Mia!"


COULTON: Paige, do you know the answer?

BOWMAN: "Evita."


BOWMAN: "Evite" - sorry.

COULTON: "Evite..."


COULTON: ...Is what we're looking for. That's right.


BOWMAN: In my head, it was...

COULTON: (Singing) To fasting, to giving to local charities. No sugar. No soda. I won't order extra cheese. No drinking, no smoking - no, swearing is taboo. I'm praying. I'm staying attentive in my pew. I gave it all up beginning on Ash Wednesday and all through Holy Week. La vie Catholique.



SOUZA: "Lent"?

COULTON: "Lent..."


COULTON: For "Rent" - that's right. (Singing) How to take deep, even breaths, how to pretend you're allergic, how to avoid tearing up, how to create a diversion, how to select the right bathroom to sob, how to recoup and walk back to the group and your totally fun office job.



BOWMAN: "How to Succeed In Business Without Even Crying"?

COULTON: Yeah. Close enough.

BOWMAN: Close enough?

COULTON: We'll give that to you.


COULTON: Here's your next one.

(Singing) Echo. Using echolocation, I can fly through the darkness, and I will not collide. I remember this evening, I awoke upside down. Let the echo be my guide.



SOUZA: "Bats."

COULTON: "Bats..."


COULTON: ...That hit musical.

EISENBERG: Jellicle bats?

COULTON: Jellicle bats, come out tonight.

(Singing) Pits, glorious pits - cured, briny - I got to spice all of my grits with some Kalamata.



SOUZA: "Olives."

COULTON: "Olives" is correct.


EISENBERG: It's a scene where they're begging for more dirty martinis.


COULTON: An orphanage with martinis.

EISENBERG: Yeah. Just a charcuterie plate, really?


COULTON: (Singing) Enigma, enigma, find me the bat. Find me Bruce Wayne. Capture him, stat. Enigma, enigma, don your green suit. Out-puzzle that nasty bat.



SOUZA: Is it the song "Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Find Me A Match?" That is from...

COULTON: That is from the musical...

SOUZA: ...The musical "Kiss Me, Kate." I don't know (laughter).

COULTON: I think you actually drew blood on some of our audience members...


COULTON: ...With that incorrect answer. Paige, do you know the answer?



COULTON: I appreciate your honesty as always, Paige. The musical is "Fiddler On The Roof." We were looking for Riddler on the roof.


COULTON: Oh, thank you. Thank you very much.

EISENBERG: Starring Tevye Batman.

COULTON: (Laughter) Tevye Batman. This is your last clue.

(Singing) We go together like a brand-new button-down shirt and an ironing board, together forever like wrinkly khakis and a couple of dryer sheets. Chang chang changity chang she-bop (ph), I got to wear these tomorrow. Woah, yeah.



BOWMAN: Crease.

COULTON: Crease instead of "Grease." That's right.


EISENBERG: Wow. Wow, that was a - this is a very close game. And after two games, Paige has squeaked it out and is moving to our final round.

(APPLAUSE) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.