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"We've gotta have a great show, with a million laughs... and color... and a lot of lights to make it sparkle. And songs - wonderful songs. And after we get the people in that hall, we've gotta start em in laughing right away. Oh, can't you just see it... ?"—Judy Garland, "Babes In Arms", 1939.
So the orphanage is in trouble. Big, costly trouble. How are those orphans going to raise all that money? It's simple. Hey, Let's Put On A Show! Time to fix up that old barn and put up a stage!
Made popular by Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney in the 1930s, but a surprisingly resilient format. A possible subtrope of this may be putting on a show with no orphanage to save. E.G. Taxi did a whole show, in which, the main cast performed song and dance numbers.
This trope causes no end of frustration for those who work in theater. Especially those who have to explain just how long it takes and how much it costs to "put on a show!"
- Ciel and crew from Black Butler hire some actors to put on a play for a bunch of orphans (for publicity rather than money, they already have plenty of that). When the actors get delayed, guess who has to fill in the cast...
- The show The Blues Brothers put on to get money to save the Catholic orphanage.
- A form of...er...show is the one that forms the end of The Full Monty...
- Kevin Smith deals with this trope with his typical taste and refinement in Zack and Miri Make a Porno.
- In Hamlet 2 the titular play is put on to save the drama class from budget cuts.
- In Be Kind Rewind, two video store clerks make short parody movies, first to cover up for their destruction of the store's tapes, but then in an effort to save the store from demolition. Eventually the whole neighborhood joins in on making one final video.
- The main plot of the Hannah Montana movie.
- White Christmas was like this, but for their old Army commander's ski lodge.
- This forms the basis for It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie and The Muppets. Sure, they had two TV shows about putting on a show, but in these films they're doing it to save the theater.
- In the Yu-Gi-Oh! fanfiction Decks Fall Everyone Dies, the characters put on a show that is meant to convince people to start dueling again. This is because life has gone downhill after the fall of dueling and the rise of dice games.
- The Anne of Avonlea miniseries.
- Parodied in the Scrubs episode "My Life in Four Cameras".
- The Brady Bunch did this more than once, including the episode in which the family stages "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves" in the backyard to raise money for a gift for a teacher.
- They basically did this in The Movie too.
- In One Day At a Time the cast saved their building and in following seasons put on a show as a charitable gesture meant to entertain the people at the local Senior Citizens' center every New Year's Eve.
- Are You Being Served? did this quite a few times, usually for Mr. Grace's birthday.
- In later seasons they seemed to happen more often, seemingly as an excuse to get Mrs Slocombe and Mr Humphries into ridiculous outfits and flamboyant dresses, even if it made no sense in context of the show.
- The Drew Carey Show did an epsiode that parodied The Full Monty where the boys decide to put on a strip show in order to raise money to replace a pedigree dog they accidentally had neutered.
- Benefit shows in general would fit under this trope. Specifically, not as much the planned "global relief" concerts such as Live Aid or Farm Aid, but the usually smaller shows bands perform to get fast money for something (jailed/sued/evicted/etc friends needing bail/lawyers, the relatives of a late bandmate need money or a show done in memory of a late bandmate, someone sick needing money for medical bills, someone's gear got stolen or trashed, etc...).
- Babes In Arms. Note that, although it shares this trope with the Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney movie it inspired, it's got a completely different score, plot and set of characters.
- Parodied heavily in an article at The Onion, in which a ragtag bunch of kids band together to save their clubhouse by putting on an incredibly dark, sexual, angsty and incomprehensible avant-garde art play, including a "whore" squatting out filthy young and pre-teen boys nude with body-painted penises.
- The "Battle for Barthis" story arc in Dominic Deegan is mostly about putting on a concert to raise money for the ruined town.
- South Park had "Chef Aid".
- Futurama has an episode centered on this trope (trying to save Earth from the TV-addicted Omicronians); Fry even used the trope name directly.
- Done in SpongeBob SquarePants, but they weren't trying to save anything, Krabs just wanted to earn even more money.
- Brak and his family put on a presentation of "Psychoklahoma" to save Señor Science from the disastrous results of his latest science experiment. By the time they get the money together, he's managed to save himself. This is Señor Science's SOP; every episode of his show-within-a-show ends with him desperately needing funds from the audience if he is ever to survive. Just send cash, check, or money order to...