Here's The List
By Gregory Jacobs-Roseman
I’ve made no secret here on Crazytown of the fact that I’m a fan of the new HBO Aaron Sorkin show The Newsroom, but one of my favorite aspects of the show are the rampant Musical Theatre references pepped into each episode. The show concluded its first season last Sunday, and I thought I’d compile a list of references in the first season, complete with dialogue transcripts (these are not in proper screenplay format - I tried, but typepad makes it very hard to make that happen) and some relevant accompanying videos of said musicals. Here goes:
Pilot – “We Just Decided To”
MACKENZIE: Now I’d like you to listen to these words, which were written 500 years ago by Don Miguel de Cervantes:
“Hear me now, o thou bleak and unbearable world
Thou art base and debauched as can be.
And a knight with his banners all bravely unfurled
Now hurls down his gauntlet to thee.”
That was Don Quixote.
WILL: Those words were written 45 years ago by the lyricist for Man of La Mancha.
MACKENZIE: Didn’t think you’d know that, but the point’s still the same: it’s time for Don Quixote!
“News Night 2.0” – these are more musical-related than musical specific
REESE: You ever been at Sardis on the opening night of a Broadway show five minutes after word gets out The Times panned it? They leave. And they never come back. Ever. And it happens in not much more time than it just took me to describe it.
JIM: We’ve got less than 90 minutes to find someone to defend SB1070 and get them to a studio, but after the show a bunch of us are going over to the Emerald City to see the Wizard and maybe he could give you some..
MAGGIE: My brain is fine! You give me the SAT’s right now and I’ll take ‘em...
JIM: ...give you some courage is what I was going to say.
“The 112th Congress”
WILL: Hoffman and Rubin weren’t Democrats and these guys are not Republicans, there needs to be a Republican saying it. Top story every night. ‘Till the plant from Little Shop of Horrors goes back to its planet.
ELLIOT: Let me also say: I’m not the one who wants to be a star, Mama Rose.
DON: I don’t know that reference?
ELLIOT: It’s from Gypsy. Ethel Merman’s a stage mother who really pushes her daughter -- I don’t have time to explain the plot of Gypsy...
DON: Yeah, sure, okay. Just pretend I gave a better pep talk, okay?
CHARLIE: Where the hell are we?
WILL: It's my understanding this is a karaoke bar with affordable food and drinks that stays open late and staffers come here after work to socialize.
JIM: When you describe it, it really sounds like Brigadoon.
WILL: Hey, you know what?
JIM: Shut up?
I tried to find a video of the Family Guy Donny Most Brigadoon clip, but couldn't find one that was satisfactory.
NINA: Dayside and primetime don’t get along?
WILL: Jets and the sharks.
NINA: Well, maybe we can be like Tony and Maria.
Again with the Tony Awards video. It was the only one that would let me embed here.
WILL: I wasn’t womanizing, I was dating.
SLOAN: Well, William, she has a gun and she’s going to shoot you.
WILL: She’s going to have to shoot you first, Sloan, because I’m going to use you as a human shield because you set me up with Annie Oakley.
SLOAN: You mean Ado Annie?
WILL: I mean Annie Oakley. Annie Get Your Gun. Ado Annie’s Oklahoma. “I’m just a girl who can’t say no?”
SLOAN: I can’t help you anymore.
WILL: Damn! ‘Cause your help’s been invaluable up until now.
SLOAN: Hey! ...Are you sure about Annie Get Your Gun?
WILL (On screen): We’re speaking with our own Elliot Hirsch, who like all...
DON: No, Elliot’s on the balcony singing a song from Evita.
More Patti. I'm totally okay with that.
"Bullies" - this is an opera reference. Still counting it.
SLOAN: The Japanese are a deferential people. It’s very hard for them to explain when they’ve done something wrong...
CHARLIE: I don’t give a shit, Madame Butterfly!
MAGGIE: Tell me what you’re gonna say.
JIM: I’m not gonna tell you what I’m gonna say.
MAGGIE: You need to rehearse.
JIM: I don’t need to rehearse.
MAGGIE: You wanna be like Spiderman?
JIM: I’d love to.
MAGGIE: The musical. They didn’t have enough rehearsal and actors died, Jim. They lost their lives.
JIM: I don’t think anybody died.
MAGGIE: Well, they got bruised pretty bad, so, tell me what you’re gonna say.
[insert snarky Spiderman comment here]
"The Blackout Part I"
WILL: I want some sort of document about what we’ve been trying to do here like the king at the end of Camelot telling the boy to run behind the lines from village to village telling people about – you know.
(There seems to be no theatre references in "The Blackout Part II" and the final episode "The Greater Fool" has reprises of the earlier references to Camelot and Man of La Mancha.)
There you have it. If you caught something I missed, let me know!
GREGORY JACOBS-ROSEMAN is a composer/lyricist and theatrical sound designer currently developing Save The Date: A New Musical Comedy. www.gregjr.com
EMAIL HIM | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | OTHER POSTS BY THIS AUTHOR