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 August 17 , 2012

The 2012 Broadway University Entrance Exam

Broadway is indebted to E.L. Doctorow, Gregory Maguire and Voltaire. They and plenty of other writers have penned books that have become musicals. For that matter, many of us are glad for the literary contributions of Patrick Dennis, Jean Arnold and Dan Cushman. Without them, we wouldn’t have had Mame, Little Me, Prettybelle and Whoop-Up.

Lyricists are indebted to authors, too. They often use them for rhymes or references in their songs. I can think of at least 50 instances where writers are cited.

So now, for the 2012 Broadway University Entrance Exam, I’d like to see you identify the songs and shows in which these lyrics and lines appear. Many cite the authors you might find on your shelves of the World’s Best Books – or newspaper columns. And no martyred looks, cryptic sighs, sullen glares from those injured eyes if you don’t get the references.

What may help: all the shows from which these lyrics and lines come are listed in the chronological order that they debuted on Broadway, starting in 1933 and ending in 2008.

All answers must be in by Tuesday, August 28th at 11:59 p.m. You know where to find me:

1. "You reading Heine; I somewhere in China."

2. "You're Inferno's Dante."

3. "Dear Beatrice Fairfax, give us the bare facts."

4. “I wear my nicest negligee, and find him reading Plato.”

5. “Will Saroyan ever write a great play?”

6. "According to the Kinsey Report, ev’ry average man you know.”

7. "I’ll be with my diary and that book by Mr. Gideon."

8. "In bed, I did not read Whittier."

9. “Written by a woman, Harriet Beecher Stow-a.”

10. “What’s your opinion of women’s clothes, Major Bowes, Steinbeck’s prose?”

11. "You want to talk of Keats and Milton."

12. "That blend of Paul Bunyan, Saint Pat and Noah Webster you’ve concocted for yourself."

13. SHE: "I have the key to what Jean Paul Sartre meant." HE: "And while you're at it, here's the key to my apartment."

14. "Harry Truman, Truman Capote and Dewey."

15. ”My Life will be selfless and pure like Upton Sinclair.”

16. "And it was 'Goodbye, Geoffrey Chaucer; hello, William Morris.'"

17. ”And legitimate plays on Broadway. Don’t you think Odets is great?"

18. "And shining through a window full of Arthur Miller plays."

19. "He writes his deepest thoughts to me on Swift.”

20. "Nah, you made it rough, tore up all my stuff, called it lukewarm Somerset Maugham."

21. "And Emily Bronte doing the twist with Kipling."

22. "Have you read the latest number of Harper’s Magazine? There’s a story there by Conan Doyle.”

23. "She wears it because she reads Eugenia Sheppard."

24. "I'll always be Alice Toklas if you'll be Gertrude Stein."

25. "Shakespeare will be shaken and awaken Francis Bacon.”

26. “Timothy Leary query.”

27. "Move over, Billy Graham!"

28. "Partly Jane Fonda and partly Jane Austen.”

29. "A matinee, a Pinter play."

30. “Caesar’s wife says, ‘Julius, today stay home from work.’”
31. “Some like to be profound by reading Proust and Pound."

32. "How could you do it? Betcha Dear Abby'd say the same."

33. "But is Hans Christian Andersen ever risqué?"

34. "I read Spinoza every day. Formidable!"

35. “Storming from the pages of The Bear, the best-selling play by Anton Chekhov, Russia’s top gag-writer.”

36. “Wise old Ralph Waldo Emerson finds that foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”

37. "And Auden read poems and stuff."

38. "Margaret Sanger, Margaret Thatcher, Margaret Mead."

39. “So we call upon you all to hold your horse’s reins before you solve this Dickens of a crime.”

40. "Don't balk; be like Faulkner, a mensch just like Benchley."

41. “That’s in the Torah. It’s what history shows. In fact, God said to Moses, ‘Moses’…”

42. "To huevos rancheros to Maya Angelou.”

43. "It's lunch with the Fitzgeralds, then it's cocktails with Dos 

44. “Read my name in Winchell’s column.”

45. “I never saw myself as a Solomon or Socrates.”

46. "Teach him to cook from Escoffier's book."

47. "The fact that in one book is the entire language of our species, 
which is a favorite term of Nietzche's."

48. “Girls who smoke and read Fanny Hill while I was reading de Toqueville”

49. "He mounted Samuel Beckett; I don't mean it like it sounds."

50. “He sits in a café, like Baldwin in the day.”

Once again: Tuesday, August 28th at 11:59 p.m. is the deadline.

         — Peter Filichia


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and each Friday at His book, Broadway Musical MVPs, 1960-2010: The Most Valuable Players of the Past 50 Seasons,

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