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Broadway? No Way!

Jul 28, 2017
Originally published on November 23, 2017 9:47 pm

If you're eagerly awaiting the musical adaptation of Apocalypse Now...why? In this game, guest musician Julian Velard belts Broadway songs rewritten to be about movies that would make terrible musicals.

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CECIL BALDWIN: This is NPR's ASK ME ANOTHER. I'm Cecil Baldwin here with guest musician Julian Velard. Now, here's your host, Ophira Eisenberg.



Thank you, Cecil. Before the break, we met our contestants, Paige and Erin. Soon, they'll play a game about movies that would make terrible Broadway musicals. For example, "Saw II" - right? Jigsaw is back but with jazz hands. Let's check in with our contestants. Paige, so one of your past jobs was as a flight attendant.

PAIGE YOUNG: That's true.

EISENBERG: When you were 20 or so.

YOUNG: Yeah, very young. Twenty is the earliest age you can do it.

EISENBERG: OK. So obviously people complain a lot about travel now and passengers get irate. We hear about it all the time. What were you told when you were a flight attendant about, like, the best way to deal with a mad or upset passenger?

YOUNG: Well, the airline that I worked for - I don't know if I'm supposed to mention names, so I won't - has pretty good customer service. They're sort of known for their above-average customer service.

EISENBERG: Interesting.

YOUNG: So we just stayed calm and stayed nice. And a lot of times, some of the passenger would even calm down over the course of the flight. And I've even had someone who was being really nasty at the beginning apologized at the end, so that was a really interesting lesson.


YOUNG: Yeah.

EISENBERG: Yeah. That is - feels very satisfying, right?

YOUNG: Yeah. And I was really proud of him. I thought that was really big of him.


EISENBERG: I hope you said that to him while you patted him on the head. Very proud of you. Look at you getting your emotions together.


EISENBERG: So, Erin, I hear you're a little tired this month, and I understand gearing up for the show is a big deal. Yeah.

ERIN IWANUSA: Very big deal, yes.

EISENBERG: Is that why you're...

IWANUSA: Yeah, this is why I'm exhausted right now.

EISENBERG: Yeah. But you've been doing a lot this month.

IWANUSA: I - well, I ran the Brooklyn Half-Marathon, May 20.

EISENBERG: Congratulations.

IWANUSA: And I just recently about three weeks ago summited Mt. Kilimanjaro, so I'm exhausted.

EISENBERG: Yeah. So wait a second. How long in between the half-marathon and going up to the summit of Kilimanjaro?

IWANUSA: The half-marathon was May 20, and Kilimanjaro was June 2. Yeah. (Laughter) It was a lot. I think I lost my mind for a month, but it was good. It was great.

EISENBERG: Fantastic. OK. Well, this is a lot easier. In your next game, we're going to scrape to the bottom of the barrel to come up with film-to-Broadway adaptations that surprisingly haven't been done yet. Julian?

JULIAN VELARD: We changed the lyrics of iconic Broadway songs to make them about movies you wouldn't expect to be turned into musicals. So just buzz in and say the name of the movie that I'm singing about. And if you're right, you can earn a bonus point by giving me the name of the original song or musical that I'm parodying.

EISENBERG: So, Paige, you won the last game. You win this, and you're in the final round. Erin, you need to win this or you have to invest in my "Phantom Of The Opera" spin-off. It's from the point of view of the chandelier. All right. Take it away, Julian.

VELARD: (Singing) I can't remember a thing since December. Who killed my wife? And why did they do it? Since that December, or was it November? To learn a fact, I must tattoo it.



YOUNG: "Memento."

EISENBERG: Yeah, "Memento" is correct.


EISENBERG: I'm really getting into short-term memory loss days. For a bonus point, can you name the original song or musical?

YOUNG: No, I can not. Maybe I'll just name one.


YOUNG: "Phantom Of The Opera."

EISENBERG: No, that was from "The Fantasticks," the song "Try To Remember."

VELARD: (Singing) On their feet, their eggs are neatly balanced, warm and safe from predators around them. Can you hear the voice of Morgan Freman? It's a documentary about these flightless birds.



IWANUSA: "March Of The Penguins."

EISENBERG: Yeah. We really spell it out in that clue, don't we? For a bonus point, can you name the original song or musical?

IWANUSA: "On My Own" from "Les Miz."

EISENBERG: There you go.


VELARD: (Singing) I am here in Nam. Wagner's my jam, played as a warning. Hey, what's that bouquet? The smell of napalm in the morning.



IWANUSA: "Apocalypse Now."



EISENBERG: I'm really into this one. I'm hoping this actually happens. So good. OK. For a bonus point, can you name the original song or musical?

IWANUSA: I don't know this one, no.

EISENBERG: OK. I'm sorry, bonus points can't be stolen. That is "I Am What I Am" from "La Cage Aux Folle." Here's your next one.

VELARD: (Singing) The world will be destroyed by a big asteroid unless a team of trailers can be deployed. Last chance. Last chance. The Earth has got one last chance.



YOUNG: "Armageddon."



EISENBERG: And that's the opening number.


EISENBERG: Can you name the song or musical?

YOUNG: Again, I will name a song or musical.

EISENBERG: Sure. Sure.

YOUNG: "Damn Yankees."

VELARD: That's actually a solid guess.

EISENBERG: Yeah, right.

VELARD: It's a solid guess, era appropriate.

EISENBERG: That was "Fugue For Tinhorns" from "Guys And Dolls."

VELARD: (Singing) Someone to narrate these slides. Someone to fill you with fear. Someone to warn that the tides are rising each year. You know he's sincere. He's being Al Gore, being Al Gore.



YOUNG: "An Inconvenient Truth."

EISENBERG: Yeah. And on Broadway, we call that a triple threat power point. Can you name the original song or musical?

YOUNG: No. I'm going to try.

EISENBERG: I love that you try.

YOUNG: "Cats."


VELARD: So close on that one.

EISENBERG: Very, very close.

VELARD: So close.

EISENBERG: Yeah. If there was ever the other side of a coin of "Cats," it would be the musical "Company" and that song "Being Alive." Unfortunately, this is your last clue.

VELARD: (Singing) People - people who see dead people.



IWANUSA: "The Sixth Sense."

EISENBERG: That is correct.


EISENBERG: How about that bonus point?

IWANUSA: "People" - "Funny Girl."

EISENBERG: "People" - "Funny Girl" is correct.


EISENBERG: Puzzle guru Cecil Baldwin, how did our contestants do?

BALDWIN: Congratulations, Erin, you won that game.


BALDWIN: You've each won one game, so we're going on to a quick game three. I'll give you a category, and you'll go back and forth naming things that fall into that category. The first contestant to mess up will be eliminated. Buzz in to answer first. Here's your category. Name the eight U.S. states whose names contain the letter U.



YOUNG: Utah.

BALDWIN: Yes. Erin? Three seconds.

IWANUSA: Oh, my gosh. I'm blanking. I'm - I'm out.

BALDWIN: Oh, I'm so sorry. You're out of time. The other answers were Connecticut, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, South Carolina and South Dakota. Erin, we're so sorry to see you go. Paige, you're headed on to the final round.

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