Harry: You've got so many reasons for not being with someone, but Robert, you haven't got one good reason for being alone.
is an American musical with book by George Furth and music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
. The plot revolves around Bobby, a handsome and well-liked single man, the five married couples who are his best friends, and three of his girlfriends. Unlike most book musicals, which follow a clearly delineated plot, the show consists of short vignettes, presented in no particular chronological order, all linked together by a celebration for Bobby's 35th birthday. One of its most notable aspects was that it was among the first musicals to deal with more adult problems through its music. As Sondheim put it, "they are middle-class people with middle class-problems."
This musical provides examples of:
- Adaptational Sexuality: A rewritten version is in the works that turns Bobby into a homosexual struggling to commit to one man.
- All-Star Cast: The Lincoln Center production with the New York Philharmonic sure is, featuring Neil Patrick Harris as Bobby, Patti LuPone as Joanne, Stephen Colbert as Harry, Anika Noni Rose as Marta, Christina Hendricks as April, Jon Cryer as David, Katie Finneran as Amy, Aaron Lazar as Paul, and Craig Bierko as Peter.
- Alone Among the Couples: Central to the plot.
- Anti-Love Song: "Sorry-Grateful," kinda.
- Bowdlerise: "You Can Drive a Person Crazy" originally went, "I could understand a person/If it's not a person's bag./I could understand a person/If a person was a fag." Later productions changed it to, "I could understand a person/If he said to go away./I could understand a person/If he happened to be gay."
- Book Ends: Bobby's birthday party
- Broken Record: At the end of Ladies Who Lunch, Joanne repeatedly sings the word "rise."
- The Cast Showoff: In the original production, "Another Hundred People" was written specifically for Pamela Myers for the role of Marta, a lengthy song for a relatively minor character. The dance sequence "Tick Tock" was created by choreographer Michael Bennett for his future wife Donna Mc Kechnie, the original Kathy; the number is frequently cut or abridged in subsequent productions. In the recent Lincoln Center production, Neil Patrick Harris performs a few magic tricks during one of the musical numbers.
- Cut Song: "Happily Ever After", "Marry Me A Little" and "Multitude Of Amys".
- Though "Marry Me A Little" was put back into the show as the act I finale.
- Deadpan Snarker: Joanne
- Deconfirmed Bachelor: Bobby
- Downer Ending: One amateur production infamously ended the show with Robert Driven to Suicide. Sondheim was not amused.
- Growing Up Sucks: "You're not a kid anymore, Robert! I don't think you'll ever be a kid again, kiddo!"
- Handsome Lech: Bobby can be played this way
- Happily Married: Deconstructed.
- Incredibly Long Note "We looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooove you." This infamous 40 second note (18 in the recording) comes from a peculiarity in the staging of the original production: the note was held for exactly the duration of how long it took the two elevators in Boris Aronson's set to do a complete raise! In other productions, including the 2007 revival, the note is sometimes shortened. The 2011 concert retains the full length.
- Lady Drunk: Joanne.
- Love Dodecahedron
- Lyrical Dissonance: While the show we all know and love has some of this, mostly when involving Joanne, the Cut Song "Happily Ever After" would have absolutely taken the cake. It's a peppy, cheerful song about how life is dismal and horrible for everyone.
- "The Little Things You Do Together," an incredibly catchy song that shows marriage getting progressively bleaker.
- No Accounting for Taste: Joanne tends to get practically abusive towards her husband Larry.
- Patter Song: Amy's part of "Getting Married Today"
- Refrain from Assuming: Amy's song is actually titled "Getting Married Today" but is often misreferred to as "Not Getting Married Today".
- Sanity Slippage Song: "Getting Married Today"
- Serial Spouse: Joanne has been married "three or four times".
- Sex Equals Love: Averted; the difference is explored in "Tick Tock"
- Sexy Stewardess: April, especially when played by Christina Hendricks.
- Stoners Are Funny: The scene with Jenny and David.
- The Eleven O'Clock Number: Being Alive.
- Title Drop: As with many musicals, the opening song.
- Un Duet: a brief one appears in "What Would We Do Without You?".