Wham Line / Theatre

  • In Glengarry Glen Ross, Williamson suddenly realizes, thanks to a very long "The Reason You Suck" Speech by Levene, who robbed the office: none other than Levene himself. Levene called Williamson out on a lie about cashing Lingk's check, which Levene only could have known if he'd robbed the office, since it was the one time in Williamson's career that he didn't take the checks down to the bank. Williamson later confronts the thief, and asks him a very simple question: "How did you know I made it all up?"
  • In Ayn Rand's play Night of January 16th, Karen Andre, accused of murdering Bjorn Faulkner, is nearing the end of her testimony, when the Surprise Witness barges into the courtroom. Karen frantically tries to prevent him from saying anything, but he tells her, "Your sacrifice is useless: Bjorn Faulkner is dead." Karen faints from this revelation, and the curtain falls on the second act.
  • The Book of Mormon:
    • There's another one in "Hasa Diga Eebowai". "Well, let's see... 'Eebowai' means 'God', and 'Hasa Diga' means 'fuck you', so I guess in English, it would be... 'Fuck you, God.'"
  • The end of act I of David Mamet's Boston Marriage: "She asks why you are wearing her mother's necklace".
  • Humble Boy: "Mother?...Mother, please tell me you can see him."
  • Cabaret: "But if you could see her through my eyes...She wouldn't look Jewish at all."
  • Hamlet: "...revenge his foul and most unnatural murder."
  • Love's Labour's Lost: "The king your father—" "Dead, for my life!" This comes at the end of a comedy.
  • Godspell: "This is the beginning."...of the end. Jesus says this to tell the community that was built during Act 1 that he's going to leave them to see if they retained the lessons learned from his teachings. And it all goes downhill from there, ending in His Crucifixion.
    • Also, the line right before "On the Willows": "And I tell you I shall never again drink from the fruit of the vine until I drink it again with you in the Kingdom of my Father." Jesus then says goodbye to the rest of the cast.
    • "Then the man they called Judas Iscariot went to the chief priests, and said "What will you give me to betray Him to you?" They paid him thirty pieces of silver — and from that moment, he began to look out for an opportunity to betray Him." (Matthew 26:14-16, KJV) The line signifies the transition from John to Judas.
    • The final line of the speech is accented with a percussive sound not unlike Dramatic Thunder.
  • From Wicked: 'You have no real power,' as well as a WHAM moment when Glinda shows the Wizard Elphaba's keepsake, identifying him as her father, moments after having had her murdered.
    • Another one takes place at the end, at the site where Elphaba made her last stand. The Scarecrow comes on stage, knocks on the floor, and says two words: "It worked!" Elphaba, alive and well, comes up through a trap door and reunites with her beloved Fiyero before they make plans to flee to Earth.
  • From David Auburn's Proof: "I didn't find it. I wrote it." End Act 1.
  • Next To Normal has a few, starting with arguably one of the biggest ones in all of musical theatre:
    Henry: Whose birthday is it?
    Natalie: My brother's.
    Henry: I didn't know you had a brother.
    Natalie: I don't. He died before I was born.
    • Near the beginning of Act 2:
    Natalie: Wow, you look great.
    Diana: Oh, well, thank you. And who are you?
    • Towards the end of the show:
    Diana: So, anyway, I'm leaving.
    • And finally, the moment that reveals that Diana wasn't the only one who saw Gabe.
    Dan: Can't you just leave me alone?
    Gabe: I know you know who I am.
    Dan: Why didn't you go with her?
  • RENT: "AZT Break." How Mimi reveals to Roger she has AIDS.
  • Sunset Boulevard actually has a Wham Song, specifically "New Ways To Dream (Reprise)," in which Max fills in all the remaining holes relating to Norma's past. The biggest Wham Line within the song is probably "Please, understand, she was my wife."
  • Tosca! Finalmente mia...aaaaaaargh!
  • Rigoletto: The reprise of "La dona e mobile", telling us and Rigoletto that the body in the sack isn't who he thinks...
  • In Urinetown, Little Sally asks Officer Lockstock what Urinetown is like. In the interest of maintaining dramatic tension, Lockstock tries to avoid answering the question, telling her "Look, its power depends on mystery. I can't just blurt it out, like 'There is no Urinetown! We just kill people!'"
  • tick, tick... BOOM!: Jon gets angry with his best friend Michael and screams, "What the hell do you know about fear? What do you know about anything?" Michael responds, "I know I'm sick, Jon, and I'm not going to get any better."
  • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street:
    The Beggar Woman: Don't I know you, mister?
    • And late on in the story:
    Sweeney (Theatre Version): Oh, God! "Don't I know you", she said... You knew she lived...! From the first moment that I walking into your shop you knew my Lucy lived!
    Sweeney (Film Version): "Don't I know you", she said... You knew she lived... You lied to me.
    Sweeney: There's a hole in the world like a great black pit and it's filled with people who are filled with shit and the vermin of the world inhabit it... But not for long...!
  • Romeo and Juliet: "I could not send it, here it is again."
  • Les Misérables: "You know nothing of Javert, I was born inside a jail! I was born with scum like you, I am from the gutter too!"
    • Another gutting Javert line: "And does he know... that, granting me my life today "this man has killed me, even so?""
  • In All My Sons, Chris's mother tells him why she won't allow him to marry his brother's fiancée: "Your brother’s alive, darling, because if he’s dead, your father killed him." This inflammatory statement leads directly to Chris Calling the Old Man Out.
  • Miss Saigon: "I'm Chris' wife. My name is Ellen". The audience already knows this, but the line clearly has this effect on Kim.
  • A Raisin in the Sun: "When a cat take off with your money, he don't leave you no road maps!"
  • Macbeth
    Macduff: Despair thy charm, and let the angel whom thou still hast served tell thee, Macduff was from his mother’s womb untimely ripped.
  • Almost, Maine has quite a few, but one that stands out is one of the characters who can't feel pain:
  • The Light in the Piazza: "When Clara was twelve, we rented a Shetland pony for her birthday party. She and her friends were leading the pony around... and the pony kicked her!"
  • Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?: " Our son is dead, just like that! How does that make you feel?"
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory ends with a Wham Song, the Triumphant Reprise of "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen". The reprise reveals first that the tramp at the dump whom Charlie befriended was Willy Wonka in disguise — same actor and all — which means he rigged his own Golden Ticket contest and was secretly on the boy's side all along, and second that Mr. Wonka's retiring from running the factory so he can pursue new dreams...in the audience's world...which he can travel to — and does — simply by way of an Imagination-Based Superpower. While a few hints to the first revelation are there for sharp/Genre Savvy viewers (they at least make for some Rewatch Bonus), the second revelation is a definite surprise. (It helps that none of this is in the novel or either film adaptation of same.)
  • Spring Awakening: Frau Bergman speaking to Wendla after taking her to the doctor, "You're going to have a child." Another example is when Melchior is waiting for Wendla in the church graveyard, "My God, all these little tombs... And here, a fresh one... Here Rests in God, Wendla Berg- No?! Born the.. Died- ?! Of anemia??"
  • In Lend Me a Tenor:
    Saunders: Oh my God, he's alive. [...] I was standing here TALKING to him!
  • Hamilton is practically a Wham Show, but a notable line is in "The World Was Wide Enough," said by Burr pre-duel:
    "I had only one thought before the slaughter: this man will not make an orphan of my daughter.
    • "Jefferson has my vote!" in "The Election of 1800," spoken by Jefferson's long-time enemy, Alexander Hamilton, over his friend Aaron Burr. This sets off the chain of letters to their Duel to the Death.note 
    • If you don't know the show going in, then Burr's line "And me? I'm the damn fool who shot him" at the end of the opening song certainly qualifies (the fact that the narrator is Aaron Burr isn't revealed until this point — it's something of a First Song Spoiler).
    • "I'm stepping down; I'm not running for President" from Washington. A Foregone Conclusion to the audience, but a major in-universe wham and the point where everything starts going wrong for Hamilton. It also counts as a wham for real-life politics; as King George points out in his next song, the idea of a leader voluntarily relinquishing power was unheard of in those days, especially when one knows that Washington was so popular at the time that he could've declared himself President for Life and almost nobody would've opposed him. There's a reason historians commonly rank this as among the most important political decisions ever made.
  • In The Drowsy Chaperone, most of it feels pretty silly, but there seem to be hints that Man in Chair has more going on then he lets on. Then, following the blackout and the Superintendent ruining the finale:
    "Oh, it was ruined, wasn't it? One note away from the end of the show and it was ruined. The mood is broken...I should just start the record again from the beginning. No. I can't do that, can I? Oh, it's so frustrating. You have to understand, I love this show so much. My mother gave me the record. This was just before my father left us. He didn't leave because of the record, although I'm sure it didn't help matters."
    • An earlier moment is a somewhat funnier, lighthearted line in "Love Is Always Lovely in the End":
    Mrs. Tottendale: Love has certainly been kind to me and my true love. Love is always lovely in the end!
    Underling: But your late husband was a brute.
    Tottendale: I don't mean him, you silly coot!
  • Fiddler on the Roof: "On the other hand...There is no other hand."
  • The Sound of Music: "LIEUTENANT! THEY'RE HERE!"
  • Ragtime: The end of the song "He Wanted To Say." Mother's Younger Brother wants to join with a Face-Heel Turned Coalhouse, and most of the song is the things the men want to say to each other (Mother's Younger Brother wants to fight for the same reasons Coalhouse does, Coalhouse knows Mother's Younger Brother has no idea of the animosity he has experienced because of his race). However:
    Emma Goldman: But all he said was...
    Mother's Younger Brother: I know how to blow things up!
  • In the Mrs Hawking play series: In part one, Mrs. Hawking, when Mrs. Hawking asserts that anyone can hide anything if they really want to, Mary's response: "You couldn't hide it from me."
  • Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812: At the end of Act 1, the moment when Natasha finally decides between her betrothed and the man she is having an affair with.
    • To a lesser extent, one of Dolokov's lines about Anatole right before the duel.
    Dolokov: Anatole is a married man, a fact known only to his intimates.
  • In Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Scorpius learns the effects of using the Time Turner to humiliate Cedric Diggory in the past and help Harry out.
    Scorpius: Voldemort Day?
    • Later, Harry and Draco confront Amos Diggory on sending his niece, Delphi, to manipulate their sons. Amos replies "I have no niece.
    • This leads to the discovery of a message from Delphi on "I will bring my father back," revealing, she's Voldemort's daugher.
  • Perhaps one of the most infamous Wham Lines is in Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap, to the point where audiences are asked at the end of the show not to spoil it. This troper would post it, but it is one of the Spoil At Your Own Risk moments, so just look it up on The Other Wiki.