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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!"

Examples of Hey, Let's Put on a Show include:

Anime and Manga

  • 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...


Fan Fiction


Live Action TV

  • 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.
  • 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.
    • This was a popular trope in the Land of Norman Lear. Good Times and Maude did similar charity amateur-hour episodes.
  • 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.

Web Original

  • 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.

Web Comics

  • The "Battle for Barthis" story arc in Dominic Deegan is mostly about putting on a concert to raise money for the ruined town.

Western Animation

  • 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...
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