Which Way to the Stage Glossary
Dani Stoller and Mike Millan

Blog: Which Way to the Stage Glossary

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Did you catch all of the Broadway references in Which Way to the Stage? Read through our glossary below to learn more!

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Bernadette Peters – Tony award winning Broadway actress who played Mama Rose in Gypsy 2003; other well known roles include original Dot in Sunday in the Park with George and the original Witch in Into the Woods

Patti LuPone – Tony award winning Broadway actress who played Mama Rose in Gypsy 2008; other well known roles include original Evita in Evita, Fantine in Les Misérables and Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard

Imelda Staunton – Olivier award winning English actress who played Mama Rose in Gypsy in 2015 in London; current star of the Netflix series The Crown

Idina Menzel – Tony award winning Broadway actress Jeff and Judy are waiting to meet at the stage door for the musical If/Then; other well known roles include the original Maureen in Rent and original Elphaba in Wicked

Gypsy Rose Lee – famous burlesque star, her memoir was the basis of the musical Gypsy

Barbra Streisand – Oscar award winning actress and singer, starred as Fanny Brice in the movie musical Funny Girl

Liza Minelli – Actress and singer, starred as Sally Bowles in movie of Cabaret

Alice Ripley – Tony award winning Broadway Actress. Well known roles include Diana in Next to Normal and Violet in Side Show

Jackie Burns – American musical theater actor, appeared as Elphaba in Wicked and stood by for Idina Menzel in If/Then

Bebe Neuwirth – Tony award winning stage and screen actress, won the Tony Award for Best Actress as Velma in the Chicago revival in 1996

“Adele Dazeem” – John Travolta’s infamous butchering of Idina Menzel’s name from the Oscars broadcast in 2014

Audra McDonald – Tony award winning Broadway actress, played Sarah in Ragtime; winner of six Tony Awards, more performance wins than any other actor.

Shania Twain – Best selling country singer “Man, I Feel Like a Woman”

Little Edie – of the cult-hit documentary Grey Gardens

Ruthie Henshall – Olivier Award-winning British actor, played both Velma and Roxie in Chicago on Broadway

Jerry Orbach – Broadway actor, well known subway ad celebrated that he “gave his eyes” as an organ donor

Shoshana Bean – Broadway actress, replacement Elphaba in Wicked after Idina Menzel

Linda Hamilton – actress known for playing Sarah Connor in the Terminator franchise

Robert Redford – famous Hollywood actor known for his rugged masculinity


Mama Rose – protagonist of Gypsy; played by Ethel Merman, Angela Lansbury, Tyne Daly, Bette Midler, Bernadette Peters, and Patti LuPone; based on Rose Evangeline Hovick, the mother of two famous performing daughters: burlesque artist Gypsy Rose Lee and actress June Havoc

Herbie – Rose’s love interest in Gypsy

Princeton – the puppet protagonist of Avenue Q, a recent college graduate

Kate Monster – Princeton’s love interest in Avenue Q, an assistant kindergarten teacher

Lucy The Slut – a sultry cabaret performer in Avenue Q, typically performed by the same actress as Kate Monster

Rizzo – the cynical leader of the Pink Ladies in Grease; played by Stockard Channing in the film

Benny – Mark and Roger’s landlord in Rent; originally played by Taye Diggs, Idina Menzel’s ex-husband

Maureen – the role in Rent originated by Idina Menzel that launched her career in musical theatre; a flirtatious and provocative lesbian performance artist

Collins – an anarchist professor with AIDS in Rent who dreams of moving to Santa Fe with his partner Angel and opening up a restaurant

Angel – a drag queen and Collins’ love interest in Rent

Jimmy – Millie’s love interest in Thoroughly Modern Millie, originally played by Gavin Creel

Elder Price – one of the two Mormon missionaries in The Book of Mormon, originally played by Andrew Rannells

Billy Flynn – lawyer in the 1975 musical Chicago; originally played by Jerry Orbach

Velma Kelly – star of the 1975 musical Chicago; based on Belva Gaertner; originally played by Chita Rivera; played on film by Catherine Zeta-Jones; kills her sister and husband; hires Billy Flynn as her lawyer; eventually co-headlines in a vaudeville tour with Roxie

Roxie Hart – star of the 1975 musical Chicago; originally played by Gwen Verdon; played on film by Renée Zellweger; fictional character; kills her paramour; hires Billy Flynn as her lawyer

Eponine – daughter of the Thenardiers in Les Miserables

Marius – student and suitor of Cosette in Les Miserables

Glinda – the good witch in Wicked, originally played by Kristen Chenoweth

Elphaba – the wicked witch of the west in Wicked, originally played by Idina Menzel

Sweeney Todd – the demon barber of Fleet Street, title character of the Stephen Sondheim musical

George Seurat – the French impressionist painter and protagonist of Sunday in the Park with George, originated by Mandy Patinkin

Dot – George Seurat’s muse and love interest in Sunday in the Park with George, originated by Bernadette Peters

Dolly Levi – star of Hello, Dolly! (and The Matchmaker), famously played by Carol Channing, Pearl Bailey, Better Midler on Broadway, played by Barbara Streisand in the film

Sally Bowles – star of Cabaret, famously played by Liza Minelli, Natasha Richardson, Michelle Williams

Lady of the Lake – the only female role in Spamalot, the character from Arthurian legend reimagined as a Broadway star complete with her own song aptly entitled “Diva’s Lament”

Hubbell – Robert Redford’s character in the film The Way We Were

Katie – Barbra Streisand’s character in the film The Way We Were


Fire Island – a small island along the South Shore of Long Island Sound, also a colloquial name for the hamlets of Fire Island Pines and Cherry Grove that constitute a gay village and a famous destination summer vacation spot for the LGBTQIA+ community

Westchester – a wealthy suburb of New York City

Port Authority – a bus terminal located on 42nd Street in New York City

Glass House – bar in Hell’s Kitchen in New York City. Famous for the risotto balls

Bucks County – a county located just outside of Philadelphia, home of the Bucks County Playhouse


Poppers – slang term for Amyl Nitrite inhalants popular in queer nightlife, called poppers because they come in small containers you crack open

Playbill – a monthly magazine for theatregoers, doubles as the show program for every Broadway and Off-Broadway production

EPA – Equity Principal Audition, casting calls for leading and featured roles in a production or season of productions

BFA – Bachelor of Fine Arts

Biscuit Feet – a ballet term that means stiff, flat feet

Ography – choreography with an oomph

Tony Awards – an award that recognizes excellence in Broadway productions

Bootlegs – an audio or visual recording of a theatrical production, usually filmed illegally and distributed to collectors

Barclays – a British multinational bank

Bottom – the person who receives anal penetration; sometimes connotes effeminacy or submissiveness

BoCo – an abbreviation for Boston Conservatory, an undergraduate college specializing in degrees in Musical Theatre

Wharton – the business school at the University of Pennsylvania, considered one of the most prestigious programs in the world

Crunch Fitness – a popular franchise fitness club in New York in the vein of Barry’s Bootcamp

11 o’clock number – the big, showstopping song that occurs towards the end of Act 2 in a musical, in which a character comes to an important realization. So called because the number often occurs close to 11PM

BroadwayWorld – a Broadway-oriented news website, famous for their message boards

Callback – a second round of auditions for a role when casting a theatrical production

Mash up – Judy’s malapropism referring to a drag mix, when drag queens take audio from different sources and “mash” them together to create a unique track to perform

Equity – union of actors and stage managers: Actor’s Equity Association

Understudy – a performer that learns another role to act as a replacement or “cover” on short notice or in the event of an emergency

Twink – slang for a young gay man with a slim build and a youthful appearance


“Don’t Rain On My Parade” – the Act One closer of Funny Girl, now best known as a Barbra Streisand standard

“Over the Moon” – Maureen’s performance act in Rent

“Find Your Grail” – one of the Lady of the Lake’s songs in Spamalot

“Rose’s Turn” – the famous 11 o’clock number from Gypsy

“La Vie Boheme” – the Act One closer of Rent; a big ensemble number featuring the entire cast


Avenue Q
An adult-themed musical parody of Sesame Street, the show that Judy and Mark are auditioning for throughout Which Way to the Stage

The Book of Mormon
An irreverent musical written by the creators of South Park about two Mormon missionaries sent to Uganda

The Kander and Ebb musical that satirizes corruption in the justice system and the concept of the “celebrity criminal;” the current Broadway revival is the second longest running Broadway production and the longest running revival in Broadway history

William Finn’s heartbreaking musical centering on Marvin, a Jewish man who has left his wife and son for a male lover, and his complicated attempts to forge a non-traditional family unit as they all plan his son’s Bar Mitzvah

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum
An early Sondheim musical adapting the Roman comedies of Plautus

Considered one of the greatest American musicals, follows the dreams and ambitions of Rose, the “ultimate stage mother,” to raise two daughters in show business. Based on the memoirs of Rose’s daughter, the burlesque star Gypsy Rose Lee

Best known for the film adaptation starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, this rock-and-roll musical set at fictional Rydell High School follows bad boy greaser Danny and innocent transfer Sandy as they navigate the complexities of teenage romance

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s explosive musical reimagining the Founding Fathers as a classic hip-hop tale telling the story of America then, as told by America now

An original musical written as a star vehicle for Idina Menzel, telling the story of a woman named Elizabeth whose life diverges on two paths based on a single decision she makes. Opened on Broadway in 2014 and ran for 401 performances; this is the musical that Jeff and Judy are waiting to meet Idina Menzel after

La Cage aux Folles
The first Broadway musical to center on a gay relationship, it shares a plot with the film The Birdcage and features an effervescent score by Jerry Herman; the musical’s Act One finale “I Am What I Am” is now considered a gay anthem

A musical adaptation of Fellini’s semi-autobiographical film 8 ½, it centers on an Italian filmmaker going through a midlife crisis and the women in his life

Jonathan Larson’s modern adaptation of La Boheme set in an early 90s East Village, this rock musical launched Idina Menzel’s career

The musical adaptation of Monthy Python and the Holy Grail

Thoroughly Modern Millie
A musical adaptation of the 1967 film of the same name, focusing on small-town girl Millie Dillmount who comes to New York to marry for money instead of love

This blockbuster musical tells the “true story” of the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz, reimagined as a misunderstood green girl, and her estranged friend Glinda the Good Witch

The Wild Party
This Off-Broadway musical adapts Joseph Moncure March’s narrative poem about flapper Queenie and her jealous lover Burrs with a score by Andrew Lippa; coincidentally this musical opened in the same season as a Broadway musical with the same name adapting the same poem with a score written by Michael John LaChiusa

A 1983 musical film starring Barbra Streisand about a Jewish woman in Poland who pretends to be a man to receive a Rabbinical education