Earlier this week I had my iPod on shuffle as I walked around the theatre district. Somewhere around 47th & Broadway, a beautiful instrumental track came on, which I didn't recognize for the first few bars. Then I heard a snippet of a song I knew... and then another... and I realized with a smile that it was the Entr'acte from Merrily We Roll Along. I enjoyed it so much I started scanning through my vast collection of songs for other Entr'actes -- tracks I must admit I had often skipped over, especially when listening on shuffle. After listening to fifteen or twenty back-to-back, I'll probably never skip over one again!
Literally the word Entr'acte is French for "between acts," and historically referred to entertainment provided during intermission -- a dance number performed between the acts of an opera, for example. The word is also technically a synonym for intermission itself; though in current American theatre I've never heard it used that way. The modern definition of Entr'acte is, simply, the overture for the second act: the instrumental piece of music used to ease us back into the world of the play, after we've stretched our legs or picked up a cocktail, emptied our bladders or stepped outside for a breath of fresh air. Like the overture, the Entr'acte weaves together elements of the score from multiple numbers. For me, it creates a special kind of anticipation, reminding me: "Here you are on Broadway! Let's see what the have for you next!"
As I am wont to do, I grabbed my phone and quickly tweeted:
i was thrilled when the responses started coming in; not only was I reminded of Entr'actes I hadn't thought of, but it was yet another reminder that I'm not (by far) the only nerd thinking about such questions as this one! My favorite response came from @kevinddaly
, who added, "I have a playlist". Why hadn't I thought of that? As soon as I got home, I too made a iTunes playlist of my favorite Broadway Entr'actes.
Here is a list of my favorites along with some of those tweeted to me:
Beauty & the Beast
The Phantom of the Opera
Catch Me if you Can
The Color Purple
It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Superman
My Fair Lady
Guys & Dolls
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
They're Playing Our Song
Merrily We Roll Along
What's missing from this list? What are YOUR favorite Entr'actes from Broadway shows?