It’s a helluva town!
The schoolyard’s up
And the shopping mall’s down
The stray dogs go
To the animal pound!
Bart: Springfield, Springfield…
Milhouse: Springfield, Springfield…
Sailor: New York, New York…
Bart: New York is thataway, man!
Sailor: Thanks, kid!
Bart & Milhouse: It’s a hell of a town!
“Boy-Scoutz N the Hood” (S5:E8), November 1993, an experimental squishee and a montage featuring two young boys that are “young, rich, and full of sugar” going “crazy, Broadway style!” I was a thirteen year old fuzzball back then, fond of Broadway musicals, an actual member of the BSA (yes I made Eagle if you’re wondering), and I remember watching this episode and loving it. I mean heck, Ernest Borgnine was in the dang episode. Fast forward to over twenty years later and this musical moment is still one I love and like re-watching. Even better, the first musical I ever saw on Broadway was featured in the montage.
Sadly I’ve never seen another there despite living real close at various points of my life but the point is my Dad took me when I was 6 and I still remember Rum Tum Tugger jumping on stage through the moon. Please pause while I rewatch this on the interwebs for my own nostalgia. I’m the kid who named his first cat after Mr. Mistoffelees. Around the same age, I asked to go see Mikhail Baryshnikov perform in The Nutcracker. Tap with Gregory Hines remains one of my favorite movies. Anyhoo… now I’m writing this post trying to stay upbeat while I listen to “Memories.” The point is, this merit-badge earning member of “the few, the proud, the geeky,” who also has an affinity for live theater (and has even performed in a few musicals and in choir), recently found himself with a spot of time on his hands and decided to write a post for himself.
Something I think could be really fun and “dramatic” in the game that maybe a few others might enjoy would be a Broadway Event. I know my pal Totbox is one of them. Tot commented back in December 2015 on the episode recap for “Lisa With an ‘S’” about the idea for a Broadway Event that got my creative juices flowing. Heck, it was mentioned again in March 2016 after the Las Vegas Event. Of course I wrote down notes for a post idea and then real life, TSTO events, etc. happened and the words just sat in my giant idea document I keep on word for the day they could burst forth onto the stage aka this blog in a post. Well, I’ve got the time, I’m listening to Hamilton now, and it is time for just that post.
As a conglomeration of pop culture, The Simpsons has included Broadway and theater in the show many times. Just the little ditty inspired by On The Town that I started this post off with should be proof enough, but for any naysayers, I thought it might be worth pointing out “The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson” (S9:E1). We’re still in the classic Simpsons era and Broadway is shown. I love New York City aka the land of pimps and CHUDs. In fairness, I feel pretty comfortable saying that Broadway and the city that never sleeps are synonymous. Even dullards with no culture whatsoever go to see shows in NYC. Wow, I write a sentence like that and then want to point out that Marge, Bart, and Lisa go to see a show while they’re visiting.
Heck, I’d love for an event like this to bring us the Khlav Kalash vendor. We already have his stand.
I also love that Ian aka The Very Tall Man was on the bus that The Simpsons took to the city. I’d love both him and the bus.
We could just stick with NYC episodes and look at Broadway images from “Moonshine River” (S24:E1) if we like since The Great White Way (no that’s not an endorsement for Trump) was in this episode too. Okay, it’s just Lisa and Marge who seek culture in this one so maybe my earlier sentence was both correct and incorrect. Did anyone ever see the ABBA Mamma Mia! show or did you just watch the movie? Don’t feel bad if the answer is no, Marge and the kids didn’t see the show in this episode either. I want to see the Seussical Salesman lol.
But this isn’t all for Broadway in the Simpsons. Heck, I could just send you to my episode recaps for “Lisa With an ‘S’”, “The Burns Cage”, or “How Lisa Got Her Marge Back”. Season 27 was definitely a Broadway-inspired one. Well, Casablanca isn’t Broadway but Springfield Elementary did a live theater version so I’m counting it. The last one involved theater in Capital City but it counts in my book. I blame working on a Season 27 recap partially for this post.
Wowza… if I’d known the worm hole I was going to go down listening to/watching Wicked, Phantom of the Opera, Hamilton, performances at the Tonys, CATS, Assassins, Les Mis, Avenue Q, and Glee while looking up episodes, etc., I may not have started this post. Leave it to me to pick something I actually give a hoot about. My ADHD sometimes takes me on journeys unexpected. Seriously… this post took hours. Anyhoo… when I first decided on the characters I thought would be funny for a Broadway event, my first imagining was this image from “The Fool Monty” (S22:E6) with appropriate characters dancing on Mr. Burns’ grave.
Okay… not initially something to make you think of Broadway but someone has to teach the chorus and ensemble to do the fancy numbers, right? Why not Vicki Valentine and Chazz Busby? Vicki of course came our way in “Last Tap Dance in Springfield” (S11:E20), an episode all about tap dancing.
I’ve asked for her before and we already got tap dancing Ralph so why not? I’m thinking this event could be all about a revue at Springfield Elementary of classic musicals. If you want a classical ballet feel, the Chazz Busby Ballet Academy from “Smoke on the Daughter” (S19:E15) works for me.
This would of course come with Chazz Busby. He admits in his first episode to having a Broadway show called Dancing Like That which “closed in a week, too smart for the corn dog crowd, too dumb for the bagel bunch.” Ballet is classy theater, right?
Would you be interested to know I did ballet for almost 8 years? Alas, I’m not graceful any more but I’m sure my mom has embarrassing photos of me in tights somewhere. I once did a whole performance inspired by Patrick Swayze and to the tune of “The Time of My Life”… I still remember the delighted moms as I passed out roses. I guess this explains why ballet got included in my list but before you go all musical purist on me or ask too many questions, Chazz does have other connections to Broadway. He was Laney Fontaine’s agent in “Lisa with an ‘S’” (S27:E7), yet another episode that went to NYC and Broadway.
If we’re to believe the show, Laney is a Broadway legend.
I’m a fan of views of the lighted theater district but we also get to see inside one of the theaters. This could easily be turned into an outdoor stage.
Laney would be a fun addition to the game even if she’s only been in two episodes so far. This episode even includes a song parodying West Side Story.
Beyond these three ideas, if you’re looking for more enduring characters, I’d suggest Nedward Flanders, Sr. and Agnes Flanders also known as Ned’s Beatnik parents.
From a kid raised by a woman who was both a Young Republican, a staunch feminist, and a self-proclaimed hippy (what can I say, she’s complicated and I love her), I always think of Wookieemama when I see Ned’s parents although I was disciplined more as a wee one. Maybe I like these two being added because one of the episodes they are in could possibly also bring us the Springfield Playhouse from “Ned ‘N Edna’s Blend Agenda” (S23:E21).
No surprise that Mr. Busby is the director of the Passion Play. I should probably mention that the actual performance was held in front of the Springfield Courthouse so that’s also a skin idea.
Speaking of the Playhouse, I could also go for the billboard advertising the location in “The Ten-Per-Cent Solution” (S23:E8). Heck, I’d love to see Duffman get a task as Mark Twain. Now that’s something that would make this Wookiee a happy history and literature nerd. The Playhouse was also in the episode which introduced Laney Fontaine, “My Fare Lady” (S26:E14).
But what about other characters? Maybe you want a classic one in the list. Is there an uber popular one that may or may not have been voted on by readers of this very Simpsons site? A theater/culture event could be how we finally get Bleeding Gums Murphy and the Jazz Hole into the game. If Safi’s bracket is any indication, you folks want a jazz legend in the game. Sure BGM is dead but so is Dr. Marvin Monroe. All we need is another headstone or maybe even the hologram version of Murphy from “Whiskey Business” (S24:E19).
Any fan of the jazz man who never went to the dentist would also want the Jazz Hole in the game.
And in that vein, there’s already been a few ideas for venues presented but I’d really like an actual theater. How about a façade for the Springfield Community Center? I know a few tappers like Sandra who will lose their crap if we got a Streetcar façade and Llewelynn Sinclair from “A Streetcar Named Marge” (S4:E2).
In “A Star is Burns” (S6:E18), the same building was named the Springfield Performing Arts Center when Brockman was reporting on Springfield being rated dead last in culture. Krusty walking while portraying President Franklin D. Roosevelt certainly doesn’t help the case.
I could also go for a Grease 2 façade for the Springfield Community Theater from “The Monkey Suit” (S17:E21). Jeesh this building changes names like Prince used to do in the 90s. RIP your purpleness. Bart had “appear in summer stock play” on his to do list for the summer. Well summer is almost over EA, let’s get some musicals in the game… think of the children or at least Bart.
Could it be I wrote an entire post simply because I wanted to ask for the theater in Capital City from “A Fish Called Selma” (S7:E19)? We already got stuff from this in the Springfield Dump but a fuzzball can dream. Also might bring us Troy McClure so now I know I’m fantasizing.
Another great idea to me would be the Delacorte Theater from “Moonshine River” (S24:E1). I’d love to see some outdoor Shakespearean tasks for Springfielders sort of like the tasks we got at the Outdoor Opera Stage.
Maybe it could have a bunch of different facades from all the various shows that have appeared in the Best. Show. Ever.? They could be tasks of different lengths. There’s precedent for it on the Open Air Stage.
To end this thing off with one last mention, I have to discuss “Elementary School Musical” (S22:E1). You see, Tot’s suggestion led me to one heck of a whirlpool of MyTube videos having nothing to do with The Simpsons and everything to do with musicals and somehow the videos morphed into songs from Glee. I’ll admit I loved that show but it’s mainly because I was a show choir kid as a teenager. This episode paired my favorite cartoon with the antics/singing of the other. Okay not really, although I bet some of you were screaming nooooo like Vader for a moment. I think Expressions: A Performing Arts Camp could work for this event too. I especially like the stage.
This episode is more Flight of the Conchords than Glee to be honest so don’t let my segway keep you from watching it. It also includes a reveal that Springfield has an artistic district called Sprooklyn. That’s another idea that could work in this event. These buildings would fit right in with some stuff from Superheroes.
Strangely from the same episode, I’m truly in love with this theater that was shown in the video which exonerated Krusty from crimes against Europe. I looked up South African theaters and this is neither the V&A Amphitheatre (Capetown) or the Nelson Mandela Amphitheatre (Pretoria) and looks much more like the Hollywood Bowl but I like it nonetheless.
So there you go. All my ideas fit to print (insert Wookiee noise indicating a loss of control) Okay… I can’t hold it in any longer. Despite liking so many of the previous ideas, I’ve been holidng back. I’ve had all I cans stand and i can’t stands no more. That second NYC episode towards the beginning sparked my true desire for the event which I struggled to keep out of it and then just now failed at revealing… Mary Wrestlemania Spuckler.
Sure she’s the get of a moonshining hillwilliam but her people have culture of their own. She’s my one true desire for Mrs. Bart Simpson some day. (Jenda who?) As a proud Appalachian American (just a joke, my people hail from cities built in giant Wroshyrs mostly), we could always get the Springfield Opry House from “Love Is a Many-Splintered Thing” (S24:E12) among all the other goodness.
The sad fact is EA could just do an animation of Bart and Milhouse getting high on an all-syrup squishee and singing with a sailor and I’d be happy. If Mary was added to the game I’d say mission accomplished in a flightsuit (I own several from my AF days) and forget about the rest. Usually I only hit a thing or two in these type of posts anyways. New stuff in the game is always good as far as this fuzzy resident of Kashyyyk is concerned. Somehow I hear the grumbles already about some about my ideas and just want to urge any naysayers to watch Neal Patrick Harris’ 2011 Tony Awards intro even if it doesn’t apply to your grumbling. It just makes me laugh.
Soooooooooooo… there you go friends, tappers, lovers of culture, or any combination of the three. My ideas for what I think would be an epic event all about the Theater District of Manhattan which happens to be on the oldest north-south street in NYC. What are your thoughts? Think Springfield could class it up with some theatre (chose the Brit spelling here as it seemed classier). Got any other ideas? Ever seen a Broadway show? Hopefully you approve of my effort at your ideas Totbox. Now all I need to do is figure out how to finish off a post that ended up being a labor of love and somehow bookending it with the beginning. I got it. “Whoa… that’s good squishee.”
TTFN… exit stage left even… Wookiee out!