It might have been a little unfair to pit a musical theatre performer against a basketball player in a music guessing game, especially when one of the questions concerned a certain red-headed orphan. But that's exactly what happened on last week's episode of Fox's Celebrity Name That Tune. Broadway alum Todrick Hall (Kinky Boots, Waitress) went up against Olympic gold medalist and former WNBA star Sheryl Swoopes.
The game show pits contestants against each other head-to-head contest with the goal of guessing a song the quickest by only hearing a few notes played. Music only, no lyrics.
The show first aired on NBC Radio in 1952, then on television in 1953. That first incarnation ran through 1959 and the show has reappeared every couple of decades, most recently in 2021 with Tony winner Jane Krakowski (Nine, She Loves Me) hosting and music producer Randy Jackson (American Idol) leading the band.
As with most celebrity versions of game shows, the contestants played for charities, Swoopes for her own eponymous youth foundation and Hall for Broadway Cares.
The game started off with a go at "Spin Me Round," where an electronic wheel is spun landing on the genre of music the mystery tune will be from. The song plays until a contestant rings in with the right answer. The round ended with Hall in the lead $5K to $3K.
The second round was the familiar "Bid-a-Note" round. The contestants bid against each other to see who can guess a song from the fewest notes. "I can name that tune in nine notes," the first contestant might say, with the second countering, "I can name that tune in eight notes," and on and on until one of them drops out. A live band will then play the winning bidder's number of notes and they must name that tune. Before bidding, players are given a context clue. Our fave from this game was of course "A certain redhead orphan might have graduated from the school of this?" And Hall didn't let us down. He got it with just four notes played on the piano. (It's a hard knock...)
Hall again won the round, ending with $35K earned for Broadway Cares, and taking him to the final Golden Medley round for a chance a $100K jackpot. (Swoopes left with $10K for her foundation.)
Watch Hall's final round in his Instagram post below. Pay particular note: JANE IS TOYING WITH HIM.
Of course, Hall won the jackpot, earning a total of $135K for Broadway Cares, one of the nation's leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations.
Stream the whole episode on Hulu.