It's 11pm. Do you know where your show-stopper is? (WEBway Wednesday Video)

Inside Track   It's 11pm. Do you know where your show-stopper is? (WEBway Wednesday Video)
Back in the days of an 8:30 PM curtain, 11 o'clock was about the time when the audience needed a little musical pick-me-up in the form of a paramount show-stopper. That song, the one that exemplified a critical development in a character's narrative, became known as the 11 o'clock number (aka, the theatre’s version of "It ain't over 'til the fat lady sings," only the "lady" doesn't have to be fat—or even a lady).

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="The original Rose, Ethel Merman"][/caption]
Perhaps the mother of all 11 o'clock numbers (pun intended) is "Rose's Turn" from Gypsy. All the greats, from Ethel to Patti to Bernadette to Bette to Kirk on "Glee," have conquered it.

Through the years (and ever changing curtain times), the placement of the 11 o’clock number has changed.  Some people now redefine the 11 o'clock song as simply meaning "a big number."

But no matter the hour, or the definition, if you’ve got one of these songs, be prepared to bring it!

On this WEBway Wednesday, we tip our hats to the best of the 11 o'clock show-stoppers.  Here are some selections from your pals at Playbill: senior editor Andrew Gans: "If 'Rose's Turn' is already taken, then I will choose 'As If We Never Said Goodbye' from Sunset Boulevard."  Here's the version sung by the first lady of the British stage, Elaine Page. managing editor Kenneth Jones chooses: "Back to Before" from Ragtime staff writer Adam Hetrick chooses: "Another Winter in a Summer Town" from Grey Gardens

And my selection?  "And I Am Telling You I Am Not Going" by Jennifer Holliday. The result? A Tony Award, and a crying audience.

Sure, I'm technically breaking the rules. This number closes the first act of Dreamgirls, so I guess you could call it a 9:30 number.  But to me, this performance can close any show at any time!

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