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Urban Legends and Anecdotes of the Theatre

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darquegk
Broadway Legend
joined:2/5/09
I though that it would be fun to have a thread about the various urban legends and oft-spread anecdotes of the theatre- discuss the ones that haven't been credited or discredited, and compile the ones we can lay to rest. Add to the list if you like!

Irene Ryan died onstage during "Pippin," or afterwards in her dressing room: FICTION. (Discredited by original cast member John Rubenstein, if I recall)

Stephen Sondheim has a "Fifty Shades Of Grey" style dungeon of pleasure and pain: DEBATED.

Loretta Swit, desperate to upstage her castmates in "The Mystery Of Edwin Drood," leered at the audience from a window with a flashlight during climactic scenes that she did not appear in: DEBATED.
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SeanMartin
Broadway Legend
joined:9/4/06
Okay, anyone who talks about a "Fifty Shades of Grey" dungeon really hasnt read the books. LOL I think it's safe to call that one discredited.
http://docandraider.com
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darquegk
Broadway Legend
joined:2/5/09
Well, I figured the idiom for "bondage dungeon" was fitting. Nonetheless, this one always seemed more a salacious rumor spawning from one story of bedroom activity than actual fact.
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JoeKv99
Broadway Legend
joined:12/27/04
HONEY, if every queen who claimed to have tied up Sondheim in his sex dungeon went to see "Passion" it would still be running.
No good can possibly come from using this vast wasteland of error and deliberate deceit. You should get off of it and warn others away. You should make sure your children and grandchildren know what a corrupt and morally bankrupt institution it truly is.
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Playbilly
Broadway Legend
joined:3/30/12
I must have missed that part of Sondheim On Sondheim.
"Through The Sacrifice You Made, We Can't Believe The Price You Paid..For Love!"
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GlindatheGood22
Broadway Legend
joined:7/17/07
I'm pretty sure Stop Taking Pictures is already the stuff of legend.
I leave the room smiling.
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SeanMartin
Broadway Legend
joined:9/4/06
Okay, my all-time favourite urban legend about the theatre is the Bouncing Tosca. Some say it was Maria Callas, but I dont think so. Nevertheless, big time production, at one of the major European houses, and the singer taking the title role had managed to piss off everyone, from the conductor to the lowest stage hand.

End of the third act: she goes running up to the top of a wall to throw herself off... but instead of a mattress, someone placed a trampoline, and before the amazed audience's eyes, suddenly Tosca was defying gravity.

Its status: debatable, but I could certainly see it happening.
http://docandraider.com
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darquegk
Broadway Legend
joined:2/5/09
The age of that story leads me to believe it inspired another urban legend of the theatre that everyone has been in a production with someone who saw/performed in: the Flying Jesus.

One production of Superstar allegedly had a resurrection/ascension staged, so that at the end of John 19:41, when it segues into the horns of Superstar, Jesus would ascend on a wire into the heavens triumphantly. The reason for the accident has been reported differently from time to time- some say the weights were designed for a much heavier Jesus and his understudy went on, or that, having missed the cue, an overzealous stage hand yanked the pulleys far too fast. But whatever the reason, Jesus shot screaming out of the tomb at top speed and whizzed into the rafters. There was a hideous thump, and then a moment later, one of his sandals flopped down to the stage ominously.

Some versions of the story add a coda (I wasn't aware that others did not until very recently, as I had always heard the story with the final tag). The audience was in a panic, knowing something was wrong. The stage manager got on the god-mic and, speaking the first words that came to mind, said "Ladies and gentlemen- Jesus will not be returning. Thank you."
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GlindatheGood22
Broadway Legend
joined:7/17/07
I love the supposed production of Anne Frank in which Pia Zadora was so bad that when the Nazis came in the audience yelled, "She's in the attic!"
I leave the room smiling.
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all that jazz
Broadway Legend
joined:4/5/12
Wow!! That JCS story is AMAZING!!! Being a christian, I've always felt very uneasy about that show, and feel really guilty because is one of my favorites. To this day I'm very superstitious about it, and try as much as possible not to watch it or listen to it during Lent.
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Emma White
Featured Actor
joined:2/11/13
I'm a Christian and we watched JCS in Sunday School so I REALLY don't think you have anything to worry about. You are not going to go to hell for watching an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical.
Then again...
"Nice is different than good."
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darquegk
Broadway Legend
joined:2/5/09
Yeah- despite the early controversy, "Superstar" is far from critical of religion at large, and in fact gels pretty closely with the Palm Sunday passion play.
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all that jazz
Broadway Legend
joined:4/5/12
That's what I thought, and I know the show is done by many churches but I still have my reservations due to past experiences. Anyway, Jesus is one of my dream roles, so recently I've begun to give in.

Updated On: 3/26/13 at 10:27 PM
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bigbelterbaby
Featured Actor
joined:7/5/10
so wait . who are all the actors who have died while currently performing in a Broadway show (whether they died at the theatre or not)

the ones I can think of are

Gertrude Lawrence (died during King & I
Irene Ryan (died during Pippin
Kathleen Freeman (died during The Full Monty
Geraldine Page (died during Blithe Spirit

anyone else ??
Hesione Hushabye thinks it tastes like ashes.
Gothampc
Broadway Legend
joined:5/20/03
Husband and wife team Jose Ferrer and Uta Hagen were starring in a production of Othello with Paul Robeson. One day Jose returned to their apartment to find Uta and Paul doing the horizontal mambo.
If anyone ever tells you that you put too much Parmesan cheese on your pasta, stop talking to them. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life.
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sabrelady
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joined:5/16/03
Number 17- the spread eagle!
Words that confuse censors:Fecund,penal,taint, titmouse, cockatoo,coccyx, ballcock, cockeye, prickly,kumquat, titter,cunning linguist, insertion, gobble, guzzle, swallow, manhole, rimshot,ramrod,come, fallacious, lugubrious,rectify,Uranus, angina, paradiddle,spotted dick,dictum, frock,cunctation, engorge,turgid,stiff, bush, uvula, crapulence, masticate, Dick Butkus, gherkin and of course the always bewildering lickety split. As you can see, context is every thing. Chuck Lorre Addendum: 555 382 5968 "Sexarama, Hexarama, Queeriosis, Feariosis!" Alec Baldwin "Happiness is up to you. You just have to understand what it is before you get it." -Elaine Stritch
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darquegk
Broadway Legend
joined:2/5/09
You know, that reminds me of one. I don't remember what show it applied to though...

In the early to mid 2000s, repeated rumors spread of a short-lived musical (it may or may not have been a jukebox show, I don't remember) whose near-entire cast had an orgy together- in some cases it was rumored in the theatre itself. They were discovered by someone in another show or from the press or something.

Does anyone remember what show that was?
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SeanMartin
Broadway Legend
joined:9/4/06
darquegk, there's also the variation on that story that says the rigging wasnt done properly and that, as Jesus rose, He slowly turned a 180, all the while waving His arms to turn back around to face the audience. I've heard that one from several sources, so it might be true.
http://docandraider.com
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darquegk
Broadway Legend
joined:2/5/09
So many variations on one legend!
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SondheimFan5
Broadway Legend
joined:6/20/10
two my fair lady anecdotes, both confirmed:

1. Opening night in New Haven of the original production, Rex Harrison refused to go onstage with "those 32 interlopers down there!" (Meaning the orchestra in the pit). The management and his agent persuaded him to go on, and the rest is history.

2. The second, more recent, about Jonathan Pryce and his now-infamous curtain speech:
LINK the rotating Elizas
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PalJoey
Broadway Legend
joined:3/11/04
HONEY, if every queen who claimed to have tied up Sondheim in his sex dungeon went to see "Passion" it would still be running.

In the stories, which are false, Sondheim is the one who does the tying. Which is the part that makes him laugh.
yr pal,
joey




Blocked so far: suestorm, Master Bates
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SeanMartin
Broadway Legend
joined:9/4/06
Another one opera related, this time from the Metropolitan. During Wasgner's LOHENGRIN, a swan is supposed to come onstage to take Lohengrin away. In this particular production (I think it was Melchior who was singing the role), the swan came on then left about 24 bars before it was supposed to. Melchior turned, saw it was gone, then turned back to audience and said, "Does anyone know when the next swan is to arrive?"
http://docandraider.com
nasty_khakis
Broadway Legend
joined:3/15/07
No earthly idea if it's true, but the orgy story was about "All Shook Up."
Jon
Broadway Legend
joined:2/20/04
There are rumors about a certain Broadway diva (most recently seen in London)performing oral services on stagehands just before going on stage.
Gothampc
Broadway Legend
joined:5/20/03
Someone else will have to fill in the details for this one.

Ethel Merman and Mary Martin were performing at a benefit. As Mary was onstage performing, Ethel, standing backstage, turned to someone nearby and said "She's a dyke, y'know!"
If anyone ever tells you that you put too much Parmesan cheese on your pasta, stop talking to them. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life.
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SeanMartin
Broadway Legend
joined:9/4/06
Ms. Merman said that about *everyone*. LOL
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