William Shakespeare had an alternate way of saying it: “Play out the play.” In “Henry the IV” Bardolph and Falstaff are interrupted by the Sheriff and his officers who have come to search the house. Falstaff admonishes Bardolph to wait, to go on with their plans.
Bardolph: O, my lord, my lord, the Sheriff with a most monstrous watch is at the door.
Falstaff: Out, you rogue. –Play out the play. I have much to say in the behalf of that Falstaff.
“The show must go on” is a phrase originally applied to show business, particularly the theater. Now people use the phrase in ordinary life. No matter what problem or catastrophe occurs, we must deal with it and proceed as if everything were normal. I myself said it recently when my son-in-law asked me what I would do if one of my infamous nosebleeds started while I was selling my books at a festival. Why, the show must go on. Hand me another oversized tissue, would you?
Nothing exemplifies this phrase better than a true story about trying to get the movie “The Greatest Showman” greenlit. In the clip below (the story behind the making of the movie), director Michael Gracey explains that it took them eight months to coordinate everyone’s schedule to show up in New York at the same time for a read-through. Executives, producers, directors, would be in the same room along with the musicians and cast members as they went through the script and performed the songs.
The day before the big day, main star Hugh Jackman ended up having a skin cancer cut out from the inside of his nose requiring 80 stitches. And the surgeon told him absolutely no singing. There was no way they were going to cancel the event after having waited eight months. So they told no one until everyone was already assembled in New York.
The next day they explained the surgery, the stitches, and the doctor’s admonishments, BUT that Hugh would stand and act the scenes, gesticulate as he would in the movie while stand-in Jeremy Jordan sang all of Hugh’s parts. This worked perfectly until the finale. Then Hugh just could not contain himself any longer. The show must go on, indeed!
And, hey, speaking of nosebleeds, in the video Hugh Jackman can be seen twice flicking blood from his nose.
It’s no surprise that he had to have his nose restitched. The posted response to his doctor was, “Sorry. Not sorry. The song was worth it.”
Yes. Yes, it was.
Watch this one first! The story behind the making of the movie “The Greatest Showman”