"Ok, Larry, let’s fill out the rest of this form.How about: "This show fucking rocks!"?"
Number one, title of show. We got that: [Title of Show]!
Number two: Name, address...ok, three, four, five...oh.
Six: Description of show in forty words or less.
—Filling Out The Form
A musical about two guys writing a musical about two guys writing a musical.
In 2004, Jeff Bowen and Hunter Bell decided to submit a musical to the New York Musical Theatre Festival. With six weeks to write before the deadline and a desire to submit something original rather than an adaptation, Jeff and Hunter recruited a couple of friends to help them create Title of Show, the musical that chronicles its own creation.
After the NYMTF, [tos] had a limited run off-Broadway in 2006 before closing. Two years later, the show opened on Broadway for another short run. Now showing in regional productions across the US.
The show has evolved with each incarnation but currently covers a period of time from Jeff and Hunter deciding to enter the NYMTF to the show opening on Broadway.
- Attention Whore: Susan, lampshaded.
Susan: But enough about me, who's up for more Susan talk? I'm just kidding! Pay attention to meeeee.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall:
- During a blackout in a scene where she isn't supposed to hear Jeff's dialogue, she calls him out for eating her turkey burger.
Jeff: "It's Susan's turkey burger from earlier. Shh. Don't tell her."
Susan: "I can hear you, Jeff."
- Hunter reads aloud a real online post as a revenge of sorts, "Dear Talkin' Broadway's 'All That Chat,' is it true [title of show] has its eye on Broadway? Why would anyone think a tiny, 'insidery' downtown show would appeal to a wider audience is beyond me. I'm sorry, but four chairs and a keyboard do not a musical make. That said, I wouldn't be surprised if their crappy show actually does get to Broadway and they just put this entire posting in it word for word. Signed, sweeneyluvr12."
- Cloudcuckoolander: Susan. The rest of the cast sometimes show signs as well.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Lampshaded in "Original Musical"
Blank Paper: Fuck, your ass is crazy, mother fuckerrr! But I fuckin' like you, and you may just be fuckin' crazy enough to fuckin' fuck-a-dy fuck fuck SUCEEED, fuck fuck mother fuckerrr!
Jeff: Ahh! What's with all the foul language? Is this appropriate or even necessary?
- Curse Cut Short: Subverted in the Off-Broadway show/official soundtrack.
Hunter: Broadway.com?! Broadway.com can kneel down, open its big online mouth, and suck my-
Chorus: Festival medley!
Hunter (screaming over the others): It can suck my fucking cock!
- The Danza: All four (or five, if you count Larry) characters are named after their original-cast actors. Lampshaded; Jeff and Hunter discuss in-text whether they should come up with character names or just use their own. In regional productions, Hunter's line "It would be weird if I walked up to you all 'Hey, Steve'" is changed to use the real name of the actor playing Jeff.
- Deadpan Snarker: Larry, once he gets a script.
- Epic Song: "Nine People's Favorite Thing"
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: "Monkeys and Playbills"
- Feud Episode: The group dissolves in a massive fight after Hunter, too focused on making the show a hit, suggests replacing Heidi with Sutton Foster. They make up later.
- Mixed with Reality Subtext, as Heidi herself was originally a replacement for Stacia, who left the show during the NYMTF stage. (Specifically, during the NYMTF run, Heidi was playing Stacia; the character was not renamed to Heidi and modified to reflect her directly until subsequent runs.)
- Lampshade Hanging: Constantly.
- At one point Hunter criticizes Jeff for dragging his chair over to move to the next scene. Later, Hunter does the same thing.
Hunter: Yeah, but I had underscoring, to say, "This is some time that has passed...!"
- Limited Wardrobe: Lampshaded, like everything else. No costume changes makes for an easier and cheaper performance.
Jeff: Okay, that's gross.
- Medium Awareness: During 'Untitled Opening Number', the cast calls attention to tropes common in musical theatre as they illustrate them, "We'll softly start the coda from a very tiny point. And then we'll get a little louder to further emphasize the point. And then we'll cross downstage towards you! And now we're yelling fortissimo!"
- Musicalis Interruptus: "The Tony Award Song"
Jeff: Don't encourage him, Larry!
- No Fourth Wall: After "September Song" and the performance of the musical, Hunter and Jeff go off stage to schmooze with the audience, leaving Heidi and Susan alone. They acknowledge this in their following song "Secondary Characters".
The secondary characters are calling the shots,
While the guys are snacking offstage.
It was their idea to bring us along,
Now we're hijacking this page of the script.
- Recursive Reality
- Shout-Out: Several.
- "An Original Musical" namechecks several Broadway shows.
- "Monkeys and Playbills" is one long shout out to Broadway flops.
- When Hunter and Jeff are getting nervous about submitting the script, Susan deadpans "Don't say that, of course you were meant to have children". Add Susan's earlier "I need your shoes!" in "What Kind of Girl is She?", and this play is clearly a bid to have Susan star as the Baker's Wife in the next revival. Jeff and Hunter share a moment in the first scene--"The Festival? The King's Festival? And the King had taken for his new wife--the Festival!"
- "Part Of It All": "If we need a quick VIP ticket to Wicked, we'll get it 'cause we're pop-yew-ler"
- "Nine People's Favorite Things": the cast arranges themselves in a line at the front of the stage and sings "Five-hundred and twenty-five-thousand, six-hundred people/Loving our show"
- The Musical Musical
- Trope Name
- Truck Driver's Gear Change: From "Two Nobodies In New York":
Hunter: Key change!
- The Voiceless: Larry at first.
- You Make Me Sic: Jeff regularly interrupts scenes to correct Hunter's grammar.
Susan: Why are you correcting grammar, we're flying!