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11 o'clock number

11 o'clock number is a theatre term for a big, show-stopping song that occurs late in the second act of a two-act musical, in which a major character, often the protagonist, comes to an important realization. Examples include "So Long Dearie" from Hello, Dolly!, "If He Walked Into My Life" from Mame, "Rose's Turn" from Gypsy, "Work the Wound" from Passing Strange, and "Cabaret" from Cabaret.[1] It was so named because in the days when musical performances would start at 8:30 p.m., this song would occur around 11:00 p.m.[2]

Among the theatre community, there is some debate as to the characteristics of an 11 o'clock number. It often signifies a moment of revelation or change in heart of a lead character, although there are exceptions to this.[3] The 11 o'clock number is also differentiated from the finale in that it is not the final number in the show, but even this is not considered a requirement by some commenters.[4] Broadway producer Jack Viertel defines an 11 o'clock number as "a final star turn".[5]

Other notable 11 o'clock numbers include "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat" from Guys and Dolls,[3] "Memory" from Cats,[6] "Brotherhood of Man" from How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,[7]No Good Deed” from Wicked, "Gimme Gimme" from Thoroughly Modern Millie,[4] "Another National Anthem" from Assassins,[8] "The American Dream" from Miss Saigon, "Goodbye" from Catch Me If You Can, "Revolting Children" from Matilda The Musical, "I'm Here" from The Color Purple,[9] and "Always Starting Over" from If/Then.[10]

References

  1. ^ Scott Miller, "May I Have a Definition?", The Bad Boy of Musical Theatre blog, 2014
  2. ^ Ben Rimalower (19 July 2014). "'This Time For Me': The Essential 11 O'Clock Numbers". Playbill.com. Accessed 2015-02-02. Archived 2015-03-28.
  3. ^ a b "'Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ The Boat:' An Unusual 11 o’clock Number". The Marquee, News and Views from MTI. Retrieved 23 June 2011.
  4. ^ a b Michael Musto (29 April 2011). "The Five Best 11 O'Clock Numbers in Broadway History" Archived 2011-07-27 at the Wayback Machine. The Village Voice theater blog.
  5. ^ Viertel, Jack (2016). The Secret Life of the American Musical. Sarah Crichton Books. p. 206.
  6. ^ Peter Marks (27 August 1999). "CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK; Theater's Thrill Rides". The New York Times.
  7. ^ Brendan Lemon (28 March 2011). "How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Al Hirschfeld Theatre, New York". The Financial Times.
  8. ^ Gordon, Robert (2014). The Oxford Handbook of Sondheim Studies. Oxford University Press. p. 91. ISBN 9780199909278. Retrieved 7 August 2018.
  9. ^ Schulman, Michael (17 December 2015). "The Top Ten Showstoppers of 2015". The New Yorker. Retrieved 7 August 2018.
  10. ^ Peter Marks (25 November 2013), "I Believe" from The Book of Mormon. "Eagerly awaited musical ‘If/Then’ is a winning blob, with many kinks to be worked out". The Washington Post.
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11 o'clock number
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