Ask Me Another
8:59 am
Thu July 10, 2014

The Soundgarden Of Music

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 9:07 am

We mashed up popular musicians with the names of Broadway shows to create a can't-miss theatre lineup. Look out for the show about a rap artist who meets a girl named Maria: Kanye West Side Story.

Heard in Episode 321: Live. Puzzle. Repeat

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Our next game is called The Soundgarden Of Music. Please welcome our contestants Royale McCormick and Joel Schwartzberg. Royale, you are joining us from afar.

ROYALE MCCORMACK: From Puerto Rico.

EISENBERG: All the way from Puerto Rico. Welcome.

MCCORMACK: Thank you.

EISENBERG: Are you named after anything specific?

MCCORMACK: My grandfather's name was Roy. And my mother was a professional ballerina, and a Royale is a ballet step.

EISENBERG: Oh, nice.

MCCORMACK: Yeah.

EISENBERG: Joel, you are the senior director of communications for the ASPCA -helping animals. Thank you.

SCHWARTZBERG: You're very welcome, Ophira, very welcome. It's a pleasure.

EISENBERG: If your life was a Broadway musical, what would you title it? Joel?

SCHWARTZBERG: I would title it How To Succeed At Business Without Even Trying 'cause that reminds me of my writing. I have a very short attention span, and I write very short mini-essays. And any more than that, and it would be really taxing on me. So I don't try really hard, and somehow that works out.

EISENBERG: You still succeeded. You know how to use your time effectively. Cool, all right. Royale, how about you? What would you title your musical - Broadway musical?

MCCORMACK: She's Fallen And She Can't Get Up.

EISENBERG: She's Fallen And She Can't Get Up?

MCCORMACK: That's pretty much my basic story daily - daily existence.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: So you're really living up to that ballet step?

MCCORMACK: Big time, big time.

EISENBERG: All right, well, with Broadway musical shows like "Moving Out" and "Mama Mia," it seems like the ingredient to make a successful musical is to use the songbook of a famous pop star. So we've decided to take it one step further and turn existing musicals into jukebox musicals. How about an example, Art?

ART CHUNG, BYLINE: So here's a new musical - a schoolteacher named Anna travels to Siam to teach the children of a blues legend, and although he's stern at first, the two fall in love. In the end, however, they call it quits, finding that the thrill is gone. That's the plot to the BB King and I.

SCHWARTZBERG: Wow.

EISENBERG: It's OK. I know it sounds - yeah, it's a mash-up game. Every answer will be a musical artist or band combined with the title of a musical. So it's a portmanteau tabbing game.

MCCORMACK: (Laughing).

(LAUGHTER)

CHUNG: Royale, you get a point for laughing.

EISENBERG: Yeah, exactly. All right, Shakespeare gets a contemporary adaptation in this musical about a college dropout turned rap star who meets a Spanish-speaking girl named Maria. Their tragic love story is a beautiful, dark, twisted fantasy. Joel?

SCHWARTZBERG: Kanye West Side Story.

EISENBERG: Yes, that is what we're looking for.

CHUNG: This musical begins when two folk singer's ad for third band mate is answered by a nanny who flies in on an umbrella. After learning valuable lessons about taking medicine and some adventures in chimney sweeping, she leaves them on a jet plane. Joel.

SCHWARTZBERG: Peter Paul and Mary Poppins?

CHUNG: That's right.

EISENBERG: Yeah.

CHUNG: Things get meta in this musical about putting on a production of Shakespeare's "Taming Of The Shrew." A California girl fulfills a teenage dream by starring in the title role while, at the same time, finding love with her female costar. And she likes it. Joel.

SCHWARTZBERG: Kiss Me Kate Perry?

CHUNG: Yes.

SCHWARTZBERG: Kiss Me Katy Perry. Either One.

CHUNG: That's right.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: There's no business like show business in this musical about a female sharpshooter. But the show tunes turn to metal when she leaves her job at Colonel Buffalo Bills and is welcomed to the jungle by American hard rock band that seems to always need new members. Royale.

MCCORMACK: Guns And Everything Is Coming Up Roses?

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: That's really good. I really like that.

CHUNG: We'll go to Joel. Joel, I think you had the answer.

SCHWARTZBERG: Annie Get Your Guns And Roses.

EISENBERG: Yes. These are hard, and this is your last clue. In this jukebox musical doo-wop, artist Frankie Valley leaves The Four Seasons to join a 90s R&B vocal group. Unfortunately, things come to the end of the road when they tell him there is just no room for a new member. Royale is pumping her fist in the air. She wants it badly. Joel.

SCHWARTZBERG: Jersey Boyz II Men.

EISENBERG: Jersey Boyz II Men is correct. Thank you to both of you. Joel, you'll be moving on to our Ask Me One More final round coming at the end of the show. Stay tuned. This is ASK ME ANOTHER from NPR. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.